Light Conversation 01 with WITCH

Red Light Radio introduces Light Conversation – a new series documenting the lives and experiences of personalities from across the creative spectrum. Gregory Markus, an archivist at the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision, will be curating the show, aiming to bring a humanist perspective to what drives and inspires these great minds.   

For its first guest, the show invites Emanyeo “Jagari” Chanda; vocalist of the pioneering Zamrock band WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc).

Along with Musi-O-Tunya, WITCH are considered the main architects of Zamrock – a unique genre emerging in Zambia around the mid-70s, melding Western psychedelic rock and fuzz guitar techniques with garage-rock rhythms, and reconstructing it in a distinctly African style.

Jagari has led a life in flux. Entering the ‘80s as a continental superstar, disco and boogie slowly came to dominate popular music tastes and the rise of bootlegging hit African artists particularly hard. When the AIDS epidemic devastated Zambia, it left Jagari the only surviving member of WITCH, and he became successively a music mentor, prisoner, born-again Christian and gemstone miner.  

That circle has now almost closed on itself. Reissues from labels Now-Again and Invisible City Editions, along with a documentary from filmmaker Gio Arlotta, have brought WITCH back into the foreground. With a refreshed lineup including Dutch psyche-rock guru Jacco Gardner, WITCH are gearing up for their first European tour, covering France, the Netherlands, and the UK. The WITCH has been resurrected.

Listen as Gregory talks to Jagari about his early life, the beginnings of WITCH, finding religion and their upcoming European tour.