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Ethno Music Camp returns

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Music Crossroads Malawi Director Mathews Mfune

Ethno Malawi Music Camp spearheaded by Music Crossroads Malawi returns to the fold after failing to take place last year due to Covid.

This year’s Ethno Malawi Music Camp will be held from April 26 to May 1.

This will be the fifth Ethno Malawi Music Camp to take place and, this year, it returns to Chingalire Cultural Centre in Lilongwe.

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Chingalire Cultural Centre, which is driven by renowned musician Ben Mankhamba who is also Village Head Chingalire, also hosted the fourth camp in 2019.

Music Crossroads Malawi Director Mathews Mfune said Sunday that all was set for the camp, which brings players from different countries to share ideas on playing of traditional instruments which are currently losing their space due to technology and modern instruments.

“Having failed to hold the camp last year due to Covid, we are back this year. Of course, the situation has not yet normalised but we thought we should come back and hold it by following the measures. Our target is to have around 30 people,” Mfune said.

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He also said that the Ethno Malawi Music Camp, which is connected to other ethno camps globally, has one aspect this year in that there are opportunities for two to three people to win a trip to attend another ethno.

“We have already secured mobility grants for these opportunities but this will also depend on Covid, especially on travel restrictions,” he said.

The previous opportunities have seen The Daughters Band bassist Phalyce Kumdana travel to Ethno Croatia to represent Ethno Malawi (2019) whereas Gift Banda and Jelusha Chipingo represented Ethno Malawi at Ethno Sweden in 2018.

Mfune said people can participate in this year’s camp by applying through www.mubazar.com/en/opportunity/malawi-ethno-camp.

“The fee is K80,000 and this caters for accommodation, transport during camp, certificate and training. The age limit is 30 years and below. The target is actually youthful artists. We are still looking for resources and for those wanting to support are welcome,” he said.

During the camp, participants undergo training with the climax being a concert.

“This year we want to hold two final concerts, one at Chingalire and then another at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa. We are not sure on Covid, especially with the Dzaleka concert. But we are trying as much as possible to be inclusive and this is in the spirit of Ethnos all over the world,” Mfune said.

In 2019 the final concert took place at Chingalire and featured Lilongwe-based musician Skeffa Chimoto and Real Sounds Band and there was also a performance from Hear Us Children.

With facilitators such as veteran ethno-musician Charles Chavaramangwere Mkanthama, who plays traditional instruments such as sansi (thumb piano), some of the participants that patronised the previous camp came from Malawi, Norway, Brazil, United States of America and Mozambique.

“Since it started, the camp has been instrumental in sharing ideas with young people on the playing of instruments such as sansi, kaligo and ng’oma (drums) and also learnt playing of traditional instruments from other countries. These instruments are part of our culture and identity,” Mfune said.

The Ethno Malawi Music Camp started as Pakhonde Music Camp in Ntchisi where it has been held twice before moving to Kayesa Inn in Mchinji and then Chingalire.

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