Witch, the Zamrock Band, Carries On

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2023-05-30 19:13:03  • 7 mins

The group, formed in Zambia, blended psychedelic funk with African influences. At 71, its leader, Jagari Chanda, is putting out his first LP with the band in four decades.

During a feverish performance last fall at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Emmanuel Chanda (who uses the stage name Jagari) paused to preach what he called the philosophy of positivity.

When a woman doesnt love you or when someone does you wrong, its all right, the frontman of the Zambian rock band Witch said, flashing a wide smile. Its always all right.

For Chanda, Its Alright the title of a Witch song from 1974 isnt a cheap bromide or a rank clich. Its an enduring ballast in a life that has encountered an uncommon number of tragedies and hardships, as well as dreams long deferred.

In his 71 years, Chanda has seen his landlocked African country experience waves of political turmoil and economic meltdowns as well as the scourge of AIDS in the 80s and 90s, which took the lives of every other original member of Witch. At the same time, he has enjoyed a vaunted reputation at home and with cult audiences abroad as a pioneer of the Zamrock movement that exploded in the 1970s when his country, flush from the spoils of its chief economic source copper mines provided young musicians access to European and American music, and created a unique sound.

Continue read on nytimes.com

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