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African sounds conquer

Malawi was not there at this year’s 28th Forde Traditional and World Music Festival in Norway but it was well represented by, among others, artists from Zimbabwe and Mali who, through their sounds, showed the beauty of African music.

Their sounds left the patrons with satisfaction such that many could not hold it but take to the dance floor.

Forde Traditional and World Music Festival started on a smaller scale but has made strides and is among the largest festivals for traditional and world music in Scandinavia, presenting about 100 acts and 300 artists from all over the world.

Malawi was last year represented by Thokozani Mdoko, Asante Maulidi and Patrick Chimbewa, who were part of the festival’s talent project made up of talents from three countries namely Malawi, Kenya and Norway.

Random interviews with people during the festival indicated that they were satisfied with all the African acts that performed.

“African music is good. Good sound and is very rich and I am happy with it,” said Jose from Cuba, who danced all the way during a performance by Zimbabwe’s group Mokoomba.

Mokoomba, which two years ago performed at the Lake of Stars Festival in Mangochi, was the only group from Southern Africa at the festival.

Although their performance was not 100 percent compared to their Lake of Stars Festival’s outing, Mokoomba managed to show what Africa was made of in their one-hour act on Friday in the main hall that was sold out.

Formed in 2008, the six-member group, which is a product of Music Crossroads Zimbabwe, offered a variety of songs from their new album and the beauty of their music is that it is in different languages among them Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga.

“It’s been exciting. The support we got during the performance was amazing and we are happy with the fact that we managed to show the beauty of African music,” said bassist Abundance Mutori.

The group was saluted by the audience after their performance and they were forced to do one more song due to public demand.

After their performance in Forde, Mokoomba left the following day for another assignment in Belgium.

They are also expected to perform in USA.

The other African acts that performed at the festival include Mamadou Diabate from Burkina Faso and Grammy-award winning group Tinariwen.

The blues band of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Northern Mali was also impressive in their act and was also forced to perform one more song by the audience.

The festival also sampled the performance of 78-year old accordion player Bitori from Cape Verde, who performed with Chando Graciosa.

There was also a performance from Combo Nations, a group made up of musicians from Africa and Europe.

Forde Traditional and World Music Festival Artistic and Managing Director, Hilde Bjorkum, said this year’s festival focused much on the Nordic region.

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