The much billed Urban Music Party (UMP) pre-shows dubbed UMP Night in the build-up to the 2013 urban festival in July, kick-started on a high note at Blue Elephant night club on Saturday as singers Blackjak, Nesnes and Armstrong put up amusing performances.

Much to the amazement of the organizers, Nde’feyo Entertainment, the turnout was very impressive as the patrons partied the night away in celebration of urban music.

As one of its main focus, UMP Night shows have incorporated a two-hour exclusive local music play, particularly urban, just to underpin playing of Malawi’s own music in clubs, social-gathering and on radios, consequently promoting artists and their music.

During the Blue Elephant show, DJs leveled the excitement with the main highlight of urban music aside mixes of local with other international songs that kept patrons on dance-floor all night long.

First to perform during the night was dancehall artist, Blackjak who wooed the audience with Mavuto track before dripping in his famous hit Wadya iwe. But it was Ele which seemed to have captured the mood as he skillfully engaged the audience in sing-along.

Blackjak did several other tracks from his yet to be out debut album before paving way for up and coming artist, Nesnes who proved his music-gene with amazing act as he did Money, Wina watenga and Chidodo.

And then, it was Armstrong’s turn. The Nde’feyo’s signed overall stage time was one to be applauded and it justified why the label roped him in as he sparkled on the mic.

Armstrong dished out several songs from his debut album, Ndele including the famed Ndamusowa and Sinditha Kumvetsa that deepened the partying mood as the audience responded exceptionally.

Music performances aside, the patronage had a grooving night with Dj Joy Nathu, JOEY and DJ Fernando from Portugal twirled the turntables to the liking of all.

The incorporation of Djs cemented the focus of promoting playing of local urban music in clubs and other entertainment joints as UMP turns to be a year-round project aimed at promoting and celebrating Malawi’s urban culture and creative industry in an effort to contribute to the socioeconomic development.

In an interview, Nde’feyo Media and Mobile VAS Manager, Maurice Nkawihe described the turnout and patronage response as a manifestation of how passionately people embrace urban music.

“Urban music is all about fun, art and creativity. It is our focus to see people holding urban music in highest esteem; and it’s an event initiated purely to promote arts and culture while contributing to the socioeconomic growth. This is why it is hugely highlighted during the UMP events. The UMP Night shows are there to raise the bill for the return of Urban Music Party (UMP) main festival in July,” said Nkawihe.

He said dates for other UMP Nights to be held in Lilongwe, Zalewa roadblock and Mzuzu just before the UMP main festival will be announced later, adding the initiative will incorporate other components such as UMP Top Model, workshops and advocacy meetings just to reinforce the idea of becoming a leading urban arts-event initiative in Malawi and Africa.

“UMP is beyond stage performances; it’s all about creating an avenue to celebrate urban music while contributing to its growth through several inventive projects that run all year round. UMP is ideal moment when artists come together, share ideas, learn from each-other but also act as launch-pad for up and coming artists. It’s a platform shaping the future of urban music”.

Hatched in 2009, UMP is a platform to celebrate and promote Malawian urban arts and culture thereby contributing to country’s socioeconomic growth by involving performances by various Malawian celebrated urban artists as well as up-and-coming ones, awards, games and competitions of various forms, among others.

Meanwhile, Nde’feyo says plans are underway to turn the initiative into a trust.

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