IN THE the early 1970s some young men from Kitwe from Old Ndeke, Wusakile and Chamboli got together and played music.
They formed the most popular music outfit in Zambian history. The Witch. Short for We Intend to Cause Havoc.
And they promptly did so.
The lineup was well known across Zambia; Emmanuel Jaggari Chanda, Boyd Sinkala, John Music Muma, Chris Mbewe and Giddy Mwamulenga in particular being well known for their virtuosity and incredibly fast hyperactive playing.
Doing backflip and leaps in the air was part of the Witch repertoire.
Their sound was unique. It was rock music. It was African rock music. Their influences were the Rolling Stones but they carved a unique place for themselves and they were among the creators of what was called Zamrock.
The Witch were mostly instrumentalists not really great at vocals but their virtuosity was their work on their instruments.
The Witch played a hard driving fast paced sound although sometimes they did do ballads as well as slow tracks but mostly their music was played at a frenetic pace.
Their bell bottom trousers, sunglasses and platform shoes were de rigueur fashion in the 70s and their music drove the country wild.
Their effect on audiences sometimes lead to riotous behaviour and one raucous concert on Independence Day October 24 1973 in Livingstone was broken up by the police and the Witch ended up in jail.
They came out of jail and promptly dropped a single called October Night.
The Witch were to unfailingly produce hits throughout the 1970s with tunes like Janet, Kangala Itoito and the iconic Lazy Bones getting massive airplay.
Eventually the band began to break up and by the early 1980s the witch now had a female singer and Patrick Chisembele in the outfit and now played a more electronic R and Bish sound. Even Ackim Simukonda passed through their ranks. It died.
The band has been revived by Jaggari who in his 60s now is a lot slower and less zany than his heyday and he now plays with pickup bands of varying quality.
However he is slowly rebuilding the name of the Witch.
The WITCH was never on the right side of the one party state. They never got the gigs at State House but such was their appeal no Trade Fair or Lusaka Agricultural Show was complete without them during the 1970s.
The WITCH was Zambia in the 1970s up to date with the latest world fashion but with a Zambian twist.
While the rest of the world idolised the Who, Clearwater Credence, The Rolling Stones in Zambia we had our own uniquely Zambian take on the genre, Zamrock and its greatest exponents were the Witch.
By Brian Mulenga