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Artists speak on Lilongwe Jazz Festival experience

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Some of the artists, who performed at the just ended two-day Lilongwe Jazz Festival held at Lilongwe Golf Club have heaped praise on the organisers saying this is a unique event that needs to continue.

The festival, which was inaugurated last year, attracted not huge audiences over the two days but it brought the best of sounds from the artists with Lulu closing the curtain in the early hours of Sunday.

Lulu, who is set to launch a new album Better in Your Arms this coming Saturday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, described the festival as good.

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“This festival needs to continue, there is just so much you get to sample and it has an angle of music which we miss,” Lulu said.

He said apart from appreciating other artists’ work, the platform challenged him to breathe more life to his music.

“This festival has also given me a different picture on how I should go about the launch of my album,” the ‘N’zalera’ star said.

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American musician Rick Deja, who has worked with several musicians in the country and is currently teaching music at University of Cape Town in South Africa, said this is a great festival for Malawi.

Apart from performing, Deja also facilitated a workshop with the youth which came under youth voices in jazz.

“It was good working with the youth. I didn’t know what to expect but later I ended up talking about things that make jazz the best, how to collaborate and use of improvisation. It was all about building confidence and technique,” Deja said.

He said through the workshop he also talked about the broader market for jazz not on the economic sense but broader audience as music is about bringing people together – artists and audience.

“Jazz is not just one thing but is available to all people of different backgrounds. I am excited on the types of acts this year and there was a variety and diversity in gender and sounds. I am optimistic about what the future holds for music in the country,” the saxophonist, who collaborated with Erik Paliani and Lilongwe Jazz Ensemble on the opening day, said.

Through the Youth Voices in Jazz, the festival accorded youth an opportunity to show their talents at the festival and some of the performances came from Bambino School, Kamuzu Academy and Mzuzu Orchestra.

Sandra Mkandawire from Bambino said they had an amazing experience performing at the festival.

“We didn’t know how Malimba would fit but music is music whether you come from classical background so we decided to offer this,” Mkandawire said.

Ennockie Chawinga from Mzuzu Orchestra, said the festival gave them a chance to interact with fellow artists.

“We have shown through our performance that the Northern Region also has an orchestra. We are ready to go out and showcase our music,” Chawinga said.

Saxophonist Memory Munthali from Kamuzu Academy, said the festival was vibrant.

“When you are playing music, it’s a whole different feeling and it really moves you. I used to play the violin but didn’t like it and so I went for the saxophone. It was hard at first as a woman, but I really loved it and when I play it, I feel alive,” Munthali said.

She encouraged fellow girls to embrace playing different instruments describing the saxophone as a magical instrument.

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