Feb 8, 2012

Chipolopolo time...it's never too late

Courtesy of Reuters
A curious thing has happened since the African Cup of Nations 2012 tournament kicked off on January 21. A slew of Zambian artists have literally elbowed their way into the studio to record a tribute song. For those who may be unaware, our national team affectionately known as Chipolopolo (the Copper Bullets) advanced out of the group stages as leaders, and have since booked a place into the semi-finals. If they win this upcoming game against Ghana’s Black Stars, this will mark our first return to the finals since 1994. So, this is some pretty exciting stuff!

Now, what I don’t get is this. Where were the tribute songs and accolades before the team left for Equatorial Guinea/Gabon? Where was the optimism that we now hear in these songs and chants that are literally being released on a daily basis? Were they hedging their bets to see how well the team performed before deigning to lavish them with praise?

The more people who rally behind the team the better, but I can’t help but give the side-eye to opportunists who are now trying to cash in when they were missing in action just a few weeks ago. I’m sure the players will be pleased to know they’ve captured the attention of millions following their progress but don’t you think they’ll also say among themselves – “it would have been nice to have this support in the build up to the tournament.”

4 comments:

i agree with you 100%. Zambians do need to learn to have more faith. hopefully this will teach us to generally have more faith and pride in our country and those that are picked to represent us.

I think you are both completely off the mark. It is tradition for artists to release 'boostele' songs just before a tournament. Some are better than others, which is why we remember them. Songs are written to express emotion, to commemorate events or to highlight issues. So, OF COURSE far more songs will be released as the team progresses through the tournament as everyone's excitement builds. This is completly normal and expected as we are all built up into a frenzy. I and many Zambians would have thought it strange if we didn't hear more of our artists adding their voice to what we are ALL feeling as a nation. Boostele songs are not about money, they are about giving hope and joining in the massive PARTAAAY that our nation is engulfed in. As a fan, I expect no less as in Africa (and Zambia is no exception), music, song and dance is how we celebrate

Masuka, I fully understand the concept of capturing the emotion during the tournament and that's to be expected. But my point is where was this "boostele" before the tournament? Why didn't we find it fitting to honour the guys before they left as we are now? Shouldn't we be using these same songs to build up momentum even before the first ball is kicked at the tourney?

I'm a little confused here. What makes you think there were no songs released before the tournament? Tribal Cousins re-formed, re-mixed and re-released their 2002 Chipolopolo classic before the tournament. Kabova was also featuring a boostele song well before the tournament (the exact title of the song escapes me). An artist writes songs that capture the spirit of the moment, they are not responsible for playing it on radio, in clubs or anywhere. That is the preserve of the DJ/proprietor and of the general public who request the song, download it, share it with friends etc. If the team is losing, why would you want a boostele song blasting from your car or when you go out to relax and have fun? It is depressing. As excitement builds, people want to be surrounded by all things Chipolopolo. So, the song which received no airplay last week, all of a sudden becomes popular today. The artist gets encouraged and (because it is not free) shoots a music video to go with his now popular song. The song which only had two views and shares on YouTube is now massive and people think it is a new song, when it has been there for weeks. If the team gets knocked out, it will remain a little known song that didn't really take off. And, naturally, others will want to join in and express their joy (as they should), and if it is a good song, even better. Most boostele songs are not very good actually.

Dandy Crazy released a song expressing what he felt about our political situation. The song became huge, ONLY because Guy Scott started playing it at rallies and people began associating it with the campaign and the party in particular. Then the campaign slogan was born and the rest is history. Writing a song is one thing. It's popularity is dependent on the mood of the audience and them embracing it.

Football in Zambia is one area where patriotism and support for the team has NEVER EVER been lacking from any quarter or sector in society, whether commerce or the arts. I'm not saying it is right, I am merely stating how things are.

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