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Ben Mankhamba seeks to lift drumming at Chingalire

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In an effort towards empowering people in his area and pushing them to exploit their talents, veteran musician-cum-traditional leader Ben Mankhamba is broadening the artistic spectrum by creating a drumming group.

The old-timer, who recently teamed up with Faith Mussa to rework on his old songs, said apart from creating a cultural troupe, which has been serving traditional dances, he felt it was high time to tap into drumming.

“The aim is to bring interested rural traditional drummers together, those who are already experienced and have been performing, to upgrade their skills and create chances for them to showcase their talents and hopefully get the honours which they deserve and earn better money,” Mankhamba said.

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He said most of the drummers in the area have been practising the same pattern of drumming and that this time; they are looking at breathing more life to their sets and bringing in new techniques.

“The trips I have made to other countries over the years have taught me a lot as regards drumming. Our friends in other countries have ensembles which are entertaining. So, we are creating this group which will be known as Chingalire Traditional Drummers and we will have no limit on numbers,” Mankhamba said.

He said the group will be there to entertain people whenever they visit Chingalire Village.

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“Their first performance will be early next month as we are expecting 20 American doctors, who will be spending their first days at Chingalire to experience a rural Malawian life before they proceed to their various destinations,” Mankhamba, who is Village Head Chingalire, said.

He said he looks at Chingalire Cultural Centre in the same manner as how French Cultural Centre (now Blantyre Cultural Centre) used to be and that he is also hoping to set up a resident band that will keep the name Zigzaggers.

“There is so much here and let me also call upon artists in the country to start planning their performances. What they need to do is to simply bring their fans otherwise we have the equipment. I am happy with the 2023 plans,” he said.

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