Watch the trailer for We Intend To Cause Havoc, the story of Zambia's fabled Witch

Witch's Emanuel "Jagari" Chanda
(Image credit: Utopia Media)

Of all the great Zambian Afro-garage-psych-prog-funk-rock ensembles, Witch (an acronym for "We intend to cause havoc") may well be the greatest of the all. The band kick-started the Zamrock movement in 1972 with their privately pressed Introduction album, and singer Emanuel “Jagari” Chand - the nickname a tribute to Mick Jagger - become the country's biggest rock star.

At the height of their fame the band could play stadiums across Southern Africa, but as tastes changed in the 1980s the Zamrock scene faded, with the nation crippled by economic collapse and the arrival of AIDS, which killed several of Jagari's former bandmates. Later, he was arrested for importing Quaaludes - a charge Jagari still denies - and was sentenced to two years in prison. 

Cut to the 2010s. Witch's music found a new audience in Europe and the US, and Jagari - now living in a tent and working as a gemstone miner - was able to form a new version of the band and start touring abroad. Six of the band's seven albums were re-released in the US by Now Again Records, who also put out a Witch box set.   

Now, if you're thinking this all sounds like great material for a film, we have some good news for you: We Intend To Cause Havoc, a documentary by Italian filmmaker Gio Arlotta, who travelled to Zambia to try to find the band, is coming to a digital platform near you soon. 

The film's distributor's say: "Through the resurrection of a music that was forgotten by many and unheard by most, the film explores the life of a former African rock star, and the excitement around the rediscovery of his music by a new generation of Western fans. 

"Following Jagari's life from his birth in a mud-hut village, through to his Zambian superstardom in the 70s while playing the band's unique blend of heavy psychedelic rock and African rhythms we then delve into his private life, as an arrest and prison sentence in the 90s turned him into a religious devotee and a miner, until thanks to the film's events and collaborators he would perform in front of adoring crowds on his first ever European tour in 2017, 40 years after his last album was released."

Director Arlotta says: “Apart from learning more about a beautiful country, its people and its music, what I’d like for the audience to take away is the inspiration to get up and follow their dreams, because you can never know when they will come true."

We Intend To Cause Havoc is showing in select cinemas from today, and can be streamed on Apple TV and Altavod from July 13. Watch the trailer below.   

We Intend To Cause Havoc poster

(Image credit: Utopia Media)
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.