The Story of // WITCH - Introduction (Private Press Version)

The WITCH occupy a vaulted position in the history of Zamrock owing to a discography that maps the decade-long trajectory of the genre itself from garage beginnings through psychedelic experimentation to progressive heights and even later into disco and boogie. While none of their albums are weak links, Lazy Bones!! in 1976 is often cited as the band's magnus opus and was certainly a high-water mark in terms of lyrical songwriting. As a historic document of Zambian popular music, however, nothing beats the group's debut Introduction. The privately pressed edition of the album was heralded as the first Zamrock recording ever to be carved into wax. From a cover depicting parachutes dropping out of a UFO in the sky to the  "here it comes" chant of the title track album opener, Introduction boldly announced the arrival of Zamrock as a sonic artform with the vinyl record as its medium.

Taking as their name the abbreviation of the phrase "We Intend To Cause Havoc," the original lineup of the WITCH included Chris Mbewe of the Twangs on lead guitar, Boyd Sinkala of the Black Souls on drums as well as John Muma (rhythm guitar) and Gedeon Mwamulenga (bass) from the Boyfriends. Fronting the ambitious ensemble on vocals was the band's youngest member Jagari Chanda, who had cut his teeth in Kingston Market as a schoolboy. Under the management of Phillip Musonda, WITCH recorded Introduction and its follow-up In the Past independently at Malachite Studios and took the master tapes to Kenya to be pressed. It is estimated that around 200 or 300 copies of these private pressings were manufactured for distribution at live shows.

Parting ways with Musonda, WITCH approached executive producer Edward Khuzwayo in Ndola, who financed a re-recording and re-branding of the albums for release in the wake of LPs by the Tinkles and Edward Mulemena on his fledgeling Zambia Music Parlour label. Gone were the cute illustrations of the private pressings as the new editions displayed slick photos of the band instead. And while the production values of the Zambia Music Parlour editions were an improvement, Introduction was no longer the spontaneous garage snapshot of the genesis of Zambia’s most beloved rockers.

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