African rock band Witch was born out of the small-but-scrappy Zambian music scene of the early 1970s. Led by singer Emanyeo "Jagari" Chanda, Witch (whose name was actually an acronym for "We Intend to Cause Havoc") was formed by former members of more pop-oriented Zambian bands, like the Boyfriends and Kingston Market, but by the time of their 1973 debut album, Introduction, they had worked up a fierce and forceful sound. There's really nothing overtly African-sounding at all about Introduction; other than Chanda's accent on the English-language vocals, there's nothing that even hints at the fact that Witch is from Africa at all, let alone Zambia. The influence of the garage rock and psychedelia coming out of the U.S. in the ‘60s seems to have played a major part in the Witch sound. While contemporaries like Nigeria's Tirogo incorporated Afro-beat grooves into their psych-inspired sounds, the songs on Introduction mostly sound like they could have come off of some Nuggets-esque compilation of rare ‘60s garage rock singles from the American Midwest. Chanda's raw, bluesy vocals have a kind of Stonesy swagger, as filtered through the more low-rent likes of, say, the Shadows of Knight or the Chocolate Watchband. Chris Mbewe's fiery guitar work follows suit, alternating between basic, visceral, blues-based riffs and fuzzed-out, unabashedly psychedelic-sounding licks that make you think you're hearing a product of the late ‘60s rather than the mid-‘70s. With the Zambian scene being much smaller than that of Nigeria, Witch didn't have access to particularly top-shelf studios, so there's a rough-edged, D.I.Y. sound to Introduction that suits the band's approach here perfectly, though their later, more musically sophisticated outings would noticeably suffer from their lack of sonic clarity.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Allen