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Harvest blacklists gospel artists

Khahliso Khama


MASERU — Harvest FM has banned two local gospel artists from its airwaves for refusing to pretend to be singing during a show held by the radio station last month.

The fallout came about after the two artists, Ngateng Molupe and Salem Nikelo, performed at Harvest FM’s seventh anniversary show at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre on June 5.

Harvest FM station manager ‘Malichaba Lekhoaba told the Sunday Express the radio station had blacklisted the artists because they had allegedly used the show to market themselves.

Molupe and Salem are independent artists but they have a joint band.

The band released its debut album, Jesu Ke Leseli, last year.

Molupe has one album to his name while Salem has several.

Lekhoaba said Molupe and Salem breached the contract with the station by performing “live” instead of “lip-synching”.

A live performance is when an artist appears on stage with a band.

Lip-syncing means an artist pretends to be singing while a CD is playing in the background.

Molupe told the Sunday Express that Lekhoaba told them two days before the show that they were only supposed to lip-sync because if they brought their full band the venue would be “congested”.

He said they however decided to go ahead with a live performance because they had already rehearsed for the show for three weeks and band members had committed their time.

Molupe said they had already promised to pay the 13 band members so pulling the plug on the performance would have been unfair.

He said as professional musicians they felt lip-synching would undermine their reputation.

The musicians were paid M4 000 for their performance.

Molupe said they had to pay entrance fees for their band members.

“With the understanding that Lekhoaba’s problem was us bringing along our backing singers, we forked out M920 from our pockets to pay for all the backing singers so that we would put up a good performance on stage,” Molupe said.

Lekhoaba said Molupe and Salem had breached the contract by performing live instead of lip-synching.

“Our agreement was that Salem and Molupe would come to the event and mime (lip-sync), not perform live,” she said.

“It was to my surprise at the event when I saw the two performing live without the station granting them the authority to do so.”

Lekhoaba said the two took advantage of the station’s platform to market themselves by performing live.

She also alleged that the two artists brought 15 people and demanded that they be allowed into the show free of charge.

She said because Molupe and Salem had “shown lack of gratitude and disobeyed to the station’s rules and regulations” their music will not be played on Harvest FM.

“Playing their music on our radio was doing them a favour so if they can’t acknowledge that, they should pay to receive airplay,” Lekhoaba said.

What also irked Lekhoaba was that the two artists had demanded M1 000 more than what the station was prepared to pay.

Molupe however denied that the initial agreement was for them to lip-sync.

He said after they were offered M3 000 he negotiated with Lekhoaba for an additional M1 000 because it was not enough for a live performance.

Lekhoaba agreed, he said.

Molupe said he was disappointed that Harvest FM offered them M3 000 but the station paid M35 000 to Solly Mahlangu, a South African artist.

“We are professional musicians and we have fixed prices which we stick to for local performances so it was very inconsiderate that she decided to put such a low price without consulting us,” Molupe said.

On Harvest FM’s decision to ban their music, Molupe said it was sad because they had come a long way with the station since its inception.

He said he did not expect the relationship to end on such a sad note.

“I believe I have gained and learnt so much for all the time I have been walking alongside Harvest FM,” Molupe said.

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