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Nasheed star Ishmael Katawala justifies Nepman’s involvement in ‘Atahiyatu’

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One of Malawi’s leading Islamic music singers Ishmael Katawala has defended his choice of secular and a non-Muslim musician Nepman in one of his popular songs ‘Atahiyatu’.

Nepman as captured in 'Tahiyatu' music video Nepman as captured in 'Tahiyatu' music video

‘Atahiyatu’(Attahiyat) an Arabic for ‘testimony of faith’, is currently enjoying massive downloads and airplay on both Islamic and non-Islamic channels locally and internationally.

It was, however, the involvement of ‘Nalero’ hit maker Nepman, who ironically is neither Gospel musician nor Islamic by faith, that raised eye-brows.

 But Katawala said the move was meant to give the Nasheed a unique touch on top of telling the world that art transcends religion boarders.

“Nepman is an artist. I am also an artist, therefore, there was no need to consider who he is in as far as matters of faith were concerned. I wanted his talent not what he is. We were trying to tell people that we are all one and only Allah will judge who is righteous.

“And I was 100% percent satisfied with his contribution to the song. And for your own information, ‘Atahiyatu’ is my most downloaded songs on top of increasing my market share,” said Katawala in an exclusive interview with MBC Online on Thursday.

As if that was not enough, Katawala disclosed that the song came out number one of the most played Nasheeds on South African based IFM Radio.

Katawala has three DVDs and four audio albums to his name.

He disclosed that he is currently recording his fifth albums ‘Kutchena’ which he said is meant to encourage people to enjoy life the way the Holy Quraan teaches.

Ishmael Katawala: Islamic Music Industry is growing in Malawi

“There is a  hadeeth which says God is beautiful and he likes beautiful things, meaning to say if you have money, spend it wisely by buying good shelter, clothes, helping the poor and parents.

“Other people dress nicely when going for job interviews, parties and businesses but dress shabbily when going to mosques or churches for prayers, which I feel it’s not good,” he said.

Katawala also seized the moment to appreciate the steady penetration of Nasheeds on the Malawian music market saying the players have now moved from organising free shows to highly sold-out ones.

“We used to have shows which we were coxing revelers with food and free entries. We first eliminated the food element but maintained the free entry. As we are talking we have now tagged an entry fee to our shows, but still we are having people coming.

“As of now, Malawian Islamic music is regarded as a project and it is even attracting sponsors, a thing that was not possible just few years ago,” said Katawala.

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