AFUNIKA-THE EYE OF AN EAGLE
“Where there is a will, there is way”; so the saying goes.
This past year,you must have heard at least two of Afunika, hit songs such as malinso malinso, darling, Te Fumo yandi, to mention a few.
EZM just had to take this opportunity to set down with the talented singer and get more of him.
Afunika was in Chipata coming to perform for the traditional Ngoni Ceremony N’cwala on the 26th February 2011, and it was a perfect set up, people where happy, celebrating and the interview went smoothly and each minute of the time of our the interview, I just wanted to know more about this Eye of an Eagle,very intriguing indeed and also managed for this spread was going for the nature look,and decided to just take pictures there and then and use them.
Afunika Frank Chirwa, his rise to fame in Zambian music was fraught with so many frustrations and obstacles and almost gave up singing.
Afunika is currently firmly establishing a permanent foothold in Zambian music circles 5 years after he embarked on a journey to become one of Zambia’s acclaimed musician.
‘’My Music was not well received in Lusaka. Some people said that i sounded like Kmillian and wasn’t just too good to be a musician.’’
History of our eye of the eagle.
One can say that Afunika had his vision and goals set already for him because after leaving high school and having the legendary Peter Kalumba Chishala’s works as his inspiration, Afunika set out to realise his dream of becoming a musical artist. However as all things in life, the will and goal might be the easiest but what comes that will be the hardest and Afunika had his taste on the obstacles of life as his hunger grew more the beginning wasn’t rosy and here is his story about fame, career,challenges.
Like many Copper belt artistes who are seeking to have their works and dreams acknowledged, Afunika traveled to the capital city Lusaka to promote his videos, music and show people that he was the “it” man and ultimately hope to get the much needed recognition and exposure from radios,T.V, fans and the media, but that wasn’t to be. He recalls ‘’My Music was not well received in Lusaka. Some people said that I sounded like Kmillian and wasn’t just too good to be an artist.’’ Nobody ever want to get their dreams shattered and this was the most trying moment in his career,Afunika went back to the Copper belt so frustrated and almost gave up on his dream.
What has been your biggest musical inspiration?
– Peter Kalumba Chisala, I just love the way he used to sing and bring out his music, he has definitely played a major part in my career.
What challenges did you face when you just started your musical career?
– The hardest challenge was me breaking through, and I was living in the Copperbelt and for me to gain the exposure and for my music to be heard, I had to go to Lusaka and whilst there, it was tough, I was being compared to K’millian and that I was not cut out of being an artist. Anyone who has had their dreams shattered will know this is the hardest thing to hear and it sure was because I almost gave up music hadn’t it been for the support of my mother and close friends.
“You need 5 good songs or more to take to Lusaka for you to be appreciated”
Eye of an eagle?, where did that phrase come from?
– One of my favorites,if not the my favorite animal,the eagle. Im moved by its keen eyesight which enables it to spot potential prey from a long distance and from there,that is where the ‘Afunika the eye of an eagle’ came from. The eagles strategy is what I use to approach my music and my targets, I see my goals at a very long and far distance,I study them and then attack them.
You lost your mother,how does that affect you as a man and your music.?
– As for any man, his mother is his queen. She meant a lot to me as her son but also in my music. She always encouraged me from the start until she had seen her son succeed. Every song and album I do is dedicated to my mother in a way as it is my way of showing her the pride and reward for the strength,support and love she put in me and when I wrote and sung ‘’Tusheni’’ (Rest in peace) it came from every inch of love I had,have and will always have for her as my queen.
– Now you working with studios in the CopperBelt and producers such as Chingola based producer and singer Baska Baska and Macky 2,how do they influence you?
– They have always supported me, matter of fact,they encouraged me to pursue my dreams when I wanted to give up. The music always influenced by the people you work with and definitely you can hear it has the “Kopala” feel to it,but we do music for the entire nation.
How do you tackle your career and the competition from other artists?
– I’m very observant just like an eye of an eagle, he is always observing and looking out for new areas to improve his career. ‘’There is so much competition but i sat down and came up with my own unique style which i felt people would appreciate’’
What do you have to say about this whole Kopala and Lusaka separation going on right now?
-The distance between the Copperbelt and Lusaka as the major hindrance to career progression of most Copperbelt artistes. “You need 5 good songs or more to take to Lusaka for you to be appreciated”.I have worked hard to be where I am because it’s not easy but I do think that the mushrooming of privately owned radio stations on the Copperbelt such as FLAVA FM, and YAR FM in Kitwe will help in exposing talent but we all need each other in some way or another.
What genre would you say your music is?
– My music is modern day Kalindula, that is how I come to think of it and that is what out-stands me.
You have a track ‘Te fumo lyandi which has everyone laughing and dancing at the same time and people are speculating that it is a real life story,any truth in this?
– Artists are always targeted for their message in the songs they bring out,most of it is personal but some of it you see from other people and you get the inspiration from the surroundings and what is going on but let state here and now that ’It’s not a true story, i was just imagining how the whole situation can turn out to be
In a relationship,single,married,engaged?
– Being an artist is needed but also I do have time nourishing my private life and I’m indeed in a relationship with someone in my home town of Chingola.
Where do you want to be as a musician say 5 years from now?
-5 years from now, I want to build myself up as an artist, I should be able to be a role model for many up and coming artistes. 2010 as a very successful year and I’m hoping that 2011 will be continued in the same spirit.
Is there a new album anytime soon?
– I’m currently working on my new album at Bravo Studios in Chingola, will be ready for release in April and I’m also producing for new artistes under bravo records, Chico Wise and Eric Toya Toya.