WIT 3 // WITCH - "Freedom Fighter" b/w "Funky Reggae"

Many Zambian bands underwent interesting evolutionary trajectories over the course of the 1970s but nothing matches the radical leap undertaken by WITCH from the bold and progressive Afro-rock of their Janet album in 1977 to their fully fledged boogie outing Movin' On in 1980. These two incarnations of Zambia's most cherished ensemble have been comprehensively documented over the last decade and have attracted distinct legions of Zamrock and disco acolytes. Unreleased until now, the non-album single "Freedom Fighter" (with it's quirky reggae B-side) emerges as the missing link that unites the two WITCH camps, finding the group in Zimbabwe as the new nation came into being and documenting a mercurial period with their sound in the process of shapeshifting.
 
The expanded 1980s lineup of WITCH was interested in exploring the band's potential as a vehicle for modern dance in the vein of Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang. Joining the existing core of Chris Mbewe on guitar, Gideon Mulenga on bass and Boyd Sinkala on drums were two former bandmates from the group Guys & Dolls in the form of Patrick Mwondela on keyboard and Emmanuel Makulu on guitar. Working alongside founding vocalist Jagari Chanda until his final departure was an additional lead singer named Stanford Tembo, who had cut his teeth a decade earlier fronting a group called Suzie Q. While the band was touring neighbouring Zimbabwe on the cusp of the nation's April 1980 independence celebrations, it was Tembo who introduced "Freedom Fighter" to the WITCH setlist. Resurrecting a composition he had written a couple of years earlier about the political struggle in Mozambique, Tembo recast the lyrics in English as well as Shona, Zimbabwe's most widely spoken language. The track prompted euphoric audience responses and was quickly recorded in Harare to document the historic moment.
 
Drums - Boyd Sinkala (Lead Vocal on "Freedom Fighter")
Guitar - Chris Mbewe (Lead Vocal on "Funky Reggae")
Bass - Gedeon Mulenga
Keyboard - Patrick Mwondela
Guitar - Emmanuel Makulu
Backing Vocals - Shaddick Bwalya

Recorded in Harare, Zimbabwe
Produced by WITCH
"Freedom Fighter" Words & Music by Stanford Tembo
"Funky Reggae" Words & Music by Shaddick Bwalya

Audio Restoration - Neal Birni
Mastering - Morten McCoy
Design & Layout - Ash Pederick
Liner Notes - Calum MacNaughton

Original Zimbabwe Release 1980
2021 Reissue Produced by SHARP-FLAT with Rebel Disko
Under License from WITCH
Cat. No. WIT 3