Veteran musicians Erik Paliani and Ben Mankhamba on Saturday reminded people of their Acacias Band exploits when they starred at the Heal the Earth Gathering 2022 organised by Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED) at Kayesa Creative Centre in Mchinji District.
The two renowned musicians were part of the cast of artists who performed during the gathering, which run under the theme ‘Invest in Our Planet- Our Common Home’.
The occasion was also part of celebrating Earth Day, which falls on April 22 every year to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
JCED says the event was part of the road to CoP27 as well as celebrating the 52nd International Mother Earth Day through Heal the Earth Gathering aimed at exploring and promoting traditional knowledge, culture and eco-arts as pathways to building climate resilience, ecosystems restoration and advocating for climate justice.
Paliani said the event was exceptional and that music was a great tool for making people aware of important issues.
“Messages can be transferred to the masses through performed songs and musical recordings. Songs were written and performed that celebrated Mother Earth and how we can sustain and preserve her,” Paliani said.
He added: “Ben, the chief, is heavily involved with this project and has composed a theme song. Obviously for old time sake, we felt it proper to jam. We also met at this time when we are mourning Chris Kele. So, I guess we are in the period where we are remembering the good old Acacias days and jamming together was unavoidable,” the singer, guitarist and producer said.
Mankhamba said he was happy to perform with Paliani during this time when they are mourning Chris Kele, who died in South Africa last Wednesday. Kele’s remains are yet to arrive home.
Kayest Creative Centre Managing Director Lomuthi Mgomezulu said, for them, this was an important event.
“One only has to visit Kayesa Creative Centre to be convinced that we aim to lead by example on matters pertaining to the protection of the environment. The centre has been in the forefront in promoting and sharing indigenous knowledge through art, not limited to traditional dances,” Mgomezulu said.
She said they believe in art and the role it plays in the preservation of cultural practices and protection of the environment.
“There was a good turnout of youths. The goal is to instill in our young people the need to pay attention to the world they live in. We are a collection of our experiences, and for this reason, we aim to give our young activists the relevant experiences.
It was inspiring to see big names in the creative space come out in support of such noble and timely initiative. With Cyclone Ana and other recent natural disasters that affected Malawi, it is a welcome development to see the likes of Erik Paliani, Ben Mankhamba and Zilanie Gondwe taking such critical roles in supporting and interacting with the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.