Erik Paliani in town


South Africa-based singer, guitarist, producer and song writer, Erik Paliani, is in the country and is set to hold performances at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on December 30.

Having performed in Mozambique recently, Paliani said it was time to offer something to people at home and that it was exciting in that he would be performing with an all star team comprising, among others, Lulu.

The guitarist said at Lulu’s studio on Thursday that people should watch the space as he is cooking up something.


Having had time to perform in the country, Paliani said the industry had improved, citing the proliferation of festivals.

“There is more support and more people are going out to support artists and morale is high,” said the dreadlocked artist.

The former Acacias Band member added that he had decided to flow with the wind and return home.


“What I am trying to do is to branch off from Johannesburg music since most of the artists who have been staying in South Africa are going back home. I, therefore, needed to do the same,” Paliani said.

On working with Lulu, Paliani said Lulu and him are friends and that they share a lot in guitar skills.

“He is a great guitarist and this is why we are doing this together. There are other artists, such as Dan Sibale and JJ, who I played with during our days with Acacias Band,” Paliani said.

He said his journey in music has been good, adding that he went to South Africa to learn.

He said it was in the course of learning that he realised the need to go to school and uplift his skills.

“On one side, I have learnt a lot but I have also sold Malawi music, which is about fusing [the music] with traditional dances,” Paliani said.

He said that he has used the platform to collaborate with several South African artists, most notably Hugh Masekela.

Meanwhile, legendary musician Wambali Mkandawire has described Paliani as a musical genius.

But Mkandawire has bemoaned that the country has given Paliani negligible support.

But Paliani said he now needs to open up and present himself to the country.

“You need to present yourself to the people. I know I am doing music which is not common but forgotten. You can be big outside but if your own people do not know you then there is a problem so I need to go out to them hence this tour,” said the guitarist.

Lulu also said he was happy to work with Paliani.

“It’s great to work with my brother Erik. There is more coming and all I can say is people should brace for the best,” Lulu said.

Paliani is best known for his work with singer Zamajobe Sithole, veteran trumpeter Hugh Masekela, and guitarist Lee Ritenour.

His album Chitukutuku and Wambali’s albums are the only ones that are found in one of the music shops in South Africa.

He said he has established a solid foundation in South Africa but now he would love to connect this with home.

The artist has moved a long winding road to be where he is today and credits his strong foundation and international success to performing with Acacias Band which also produced other renowned artists like Ben Mankhamba and Chris Kele.

The artist began his musical training as a child under the guidance of his father, a teacher by profession, but an avid guitar player as well.

He joined the Afro-fusion group Acacias Band which achieved substantial notoriety throughout Malawi and recorded two successful albums.

In 2000, Paliani relocated to South Africa and, while establishing himself in the Johannesburg music scene, he joined the band of Reverend Benjamin Dube where he met Sithole.

He played a key role as guitarist and producer on Zamajobe’s 2004 debut album Ndawo Yami for which he was nominated in the South Africa Music Awards (Sama) in the category of Best Joint Composition.

In, 2006, Paliani appeared in the film Catch a Fire, playing the role of jazz guitarist.

In 2010 he released his first solo album Chitukutuku which also earned him critical acclaim.

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