Sunday, 1 June 2014

Big Gold 6

If you are a Zambian at home or an expat in exile dreaming of Zambian skies you will be aware that Zambia is rapidly approaching its 50th independence anniversary on the 24th October, 2014. There will no doubt be many commemorative activities and much ink spilled over how well or badly the country has done in its short life. For my own part, I am wondering what I can put on this blog for the occasion and I thought it might be an opportunity to move some materials I've been hosting elsewhere, where they never really belonged. Here is some audio material I digitised from my record collection.

This is a single from the Big Gold 6 Band, who were formed in the 1960s and were originally called the Lusaka Radio Band. They were the resident band at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Lusaka at one point. One of the founding members was Alick Nkhata, at one time director of Zambia Broadcasting Services.

They were named after the brand of cigarette, Player’s No.6, whose manufacturer sponsored the band.  I don't know how they came to be singing for UNIP, but it seems that musicians such as the late Batolemeo Bwalya and Alick Nkhata were the draw cards at UNIP rallies. "People who had no interest in politics were drawn to UNIP rallies, not to listen to political speeches, but to listen to the duo belting out liberation songs which they rendered in Sinjonjo, Kwela or Township Jive." (Source:

Lest we forget, here’s a sample of some great campaign music, on a single labelled UNIP-1.

The first is "Go with UNIP" in English.
And then we have the same song in Nyanja, "Tiyende Pamodzi ndi UNIP".

My memory is that we got our copy of this in the early 70s, but I am not sure exactly how old it is. It must be post-independence anyway, given the lyrics.
Vote and remember what UNIP has done for Zambia
From the date of independence up to the present day
Vote and remember President Kenneth Kaunda
With his true leadership, You are going ahead with UNIP

More primary Schools, more secondary schools (UNIP, Yes!)
New hospitals throughout the country (UNIP, Yes!)
University of Zambia, International Airport (UNIP, Yes!)
Peace, progress, stability (UNIP, Yes!)
Good roads throughout the country (UNIP, Yes!)
Kafue hydro scheme and Kafue textiles (UNIP, Yes!)

So remember when the time comes to vote for UNIP chances
In the Local Government elections, so go ahead with UNIP
Now we have the oil pipeline, Nakambala Sugar Estates
Ndola Copper Refinery, all bacause of UNIP

Zambia Railways new diesel train (UNIP, Yes!)
Local industries, more jobs for all (UNIP, Yes!)
Zambia Railways new diesel train (UNIP, Yes!)
Local industries, more jobs for all (UNIP, Yes!)
And back when I hosted this elsewhere, Edwin Nyirenda got in contact and provided me with the lyrics of the Nyanja version of the song:
Sankani ndi kukumbukila, Nchito UNIP ya gwila mu Zambia
Kucokela pa tsiku la ufulu, Kufikila tsopano
Sankani ndi kukumbukila, A President Kenneth Kaunda
Ndi u sogoleli wao wa bwino, endani pa tsogolo ndi UNIP.

Ma primary schools ndi ma secondary schools (UNIP, Yes!)
Vipatala va tsopano mu Zambia yonse (UNIP, Yes!)
University ya Zambia ndi International Airport (UNIP, Yes!)
Mutendele mu dziko ndi kukhala bwino (UNIP, Yes!)
Miseo ya bwino mu Zambia yonse (UNIP, Yes!)
Kafue Hydro Scheme ndi Kafue textiles (UNIP, Yes!)

Kumbukilani nthawi izabwela, kusanka a imilili a UNIP
Mu ma Local Government elections, pitani pa tsogolo ndi UNIP
Tsopano tili ndi oil pipeline, Nakambala Sugar Estates
Ndi Ndola Copper Refinery, zonse izi ndi UNIP

Zambia Railways Sitima Sitima ya tsopano (UNIP, Yes!)
Mamangidwe a tsopano ndi nchito kwa onse (UNIP, Yes!)
Zambia Railways Sitima Sitima ya tsopano (UNIP, Yes!)
Mamangidwe a tsopano ndi nchito kwa onse (UNIP, Yes!)

And a little bonus. Here is a version of the evergreen Tiyende Pamodzi, written by president Kenneth Kaunda during the independence struggles. It was reissued in this pop song version in the 1980s. KK appeared on television in a music video, miming badly, but it's quite a nice version of the song.

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