Multi-lingual slam poet, hip-hop artist, and writer Menes will launch his debut album, Far From Home, with a countrywide tour, supported by singer and guitarist Patience Namadingo.
The highly anticipated four date tour and album feature a number of collaborations between Menes, a Congolese refugee from Lubumbashi, and a host of the country’s artists including Q Malewezi, Faith Mussa, Danny Kalima, Third Eye, Peter Mawanga, and Neil and the New Vibration.
Namadingo, whose hit ‘Msati Mseke’ is taking the country by storm, will perform alongside Menes throughout the tour, with the artists featured on the album appearing as special guests at different shows.
“I strongly believe that art has power to transform,” said Menes about his motivations for creating the album. “Art helps people understand and appreciate each other.”
After a successful crowd funding campaign featured on Al Jazeera’s Witness series, Far From Home was recorded to bring together refugee artists and well-known Malawian musicians as a means of promoting better understanding and co-existence between people.
Music and poetry come together to combat xenophobia, change public perceptions of refugees, and promote cultural diversity.
The tour starts on November 6 at Key Lounge in Mzuzu before dating Lingadzi Inn in Lilongwe on November 7.
From Lilongwe, the show goes to Steers Garden in Blantyre on November 8.
Menes, who performed at this year’s Lake of Stars Festival in September, will finish the tour with a performance at Tumaini Festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp on November 14.
This is a free festival featuring a variety of acts from across Malawi and the camp itself, and the only event to be held at a UN refugee camp.
Demand for Menes’ unique and inspiring performances has increased over time, with the musician being billed at events such as the Lake of Stars Festival, Blantyre Arts Festival, Mwezi Wawala Festival, Lilongwe Shorts, and TEDxLilongwe.
The nationwide tour, produced by Rhythm of Life and Lake of Stars in association with Qoncept Creative, was made possible with the support of Rei Foundation Limited.
Menes fell in love with writing and public performance at age of nine when he was chosen to represent his school at a regional storytelling showcase. He launched his professional career in 1998 as a member of the ADKS crew, and become well known nationwide as a solo act in the following years as he toured across his native Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2008 he was forced to move to Malawi and now lives at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
One of his main missions is to use the power of words, music, and culture to raise awareness about issues surrounding refugees, and promote unity. He set up the Dzaleka Cultural Association for various initiatives in the camp, such as creative writing classes and the Tumaini Festival.
“Through my performances in Malawi I have seen many people change their attitude towards refugees,” said Menes. “By pursuing these exciting collaborations and by taking this tour across the country, we’re now taking it to another level.”
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