IN so far as the history of Zambian music goes in the last decade or so, one can confidently say it cannot be complete without the mention of Danny Siulapwa. In terms of consistency, he has proved that he is the epitome of the word.
Fans have also consistently named him after his hit songs such as Danny Masiku Onse, Danny Yakumbuyo, Danny Kaya and Danny Champion. However, it seems that fans have generally settled on the superlative Danny Kaya, and rightly so. The song, the title-track to Danny’s fourth album is one of the most successful and popular songs to have been released on the local front in recent years. The song, which won song of the year on the Radio Phoenix Local Rhythm Countdown, is not just a social commentary, but also one of the most socially conscious songs to have been written by a Zambian musician of his generation.
It brings to reality in a clear and concise manner the predicament of a Zambian youth, asking him whether he will be able to achieve his dreams and vision in light of his carefree social life. This song is an effective contribution, in fact, in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which continues to ravage the most productive age groups of the country.
But make no mistake; Kaya is not the song that catapulted Danny to fame. At the start of the millennium, he debuted with the album Mvelani, which had the hit song Masiku Onse featuring JK and also had another song titled Big Up on which he paid tribute to the new crop of musicians who were in the forefront of reviving Zambian music as it were.
Thereafter, he released Ama Lovin’gi, an album that underlined the fact that Danny was not a one-hit wonder. The album had a number of hits such as Chikondi Chako Julie, a much-loved and popular song, Takwakabe featuring Joe “The Ambassador” Chibangu and My Jane featuring JK.
Still, much more was expected to come from Danny, and as expected, he did not disappoint. He followed it up with Yakumbuyo, undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive albums to have been released on the local scene in the last few years and was also one of the top selling albums. If there was a way to rank albums locally in terms of sales, you would probably say it was a multi-platinum-selling album. The effort, which some critics deemed controversial, had a number of hit songs although it was the title-track Yakumbuyo which fast caught the attention of the public. With this song, Danny opened the door for other artistes to start addressing issues which hitherto were deemed controversial if not taboo to be talked about openly among the publics.
The launch of the album, at Mumana Pleasure Resort in Lusaka, saw a sea of humanity flocking there. But if that launch was thought to be big, then the one for Kaya at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre was even huge, it was a larger-than-life affair. The Mulungushi International Conference Centre passes as the biggest venue for any formal organised event in the country, and having conquered it, Danny cemented his status as a leading musician. Danny in a way opened the way for other musicians to start holding shows at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
After that, Danny came back with Champion whose title-track featured comedian Difikoti. Again here, Danny, who has also done hit collaborations like Si’unganileke with Jane Osborne, demonstrated how actors and musicians can effectively collaborate. His next project, titled 10 Years was basically a reflection of the time (10 years) that he had spent in music. For this particular project, Danny, who owns Mad House Studios, featured some of the musicians that he worked with when he started his music career such as JK and also up-and-coming artistes like songstress Rachael whom he believes are the future of the industry.
His next album after that was aptly titled Live, a truly lively album. Released in 2010, it was an eagerly awaited album in that on Kaya, Danny had alluded to the fact that he was doubtful of making it to 2010 and watching the South Africa FIFA 2010 World Cup considering the reckless social life that he (of course not him in the literal sense) had lived.
As was expected, the title-track, a reply and also continuation of Kaya, proved a real hit as it again proved that Danny is a serious song-writer and social commentator who knows his way around with words and lyrics.
Yet, that is not, a new project is underway, and should be on the shelves anytime soon.
Simply put, Danny is a top-notch musician up there with the best in Zambian music. In fact, Danny keeps on setting new standards in music. He is among the few local musicians of his time who plays live on stage with his Mo Fire band. While most musicians of his era shy away from live performances, Danny keeps challenging them with a well-packaged live performance that always leaves his audience yearning for more as was the case with his last nationwide tour when he went round with his Live album.
Much more is expected to come from Danny, watch this space!