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French music label hooks Malawian

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By Richard Chirombo:

SCALING THE CREATIVE HEIGHTS— Samilo

Some hope all their life; with no just returns.

Others hope only for a while and get just rewards.

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Mzuzu-based Mashallo Samilo must, surely, fall in the latter category.

When Samilo ventured into poetry some six years ago, the fire of his creativity soon caught the imagination of other creative minds so that, as at now, he is Malawi Writers Union Northern Region Chapter General Secretary.

It takes a little effort, it seems, for the fire of Samilo’s creativity to catch the imagination of others.

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Just when the embers of his fire in poetry were about to lose warmth, the fire is alight in another genre: music.

The multi-talented artist has just secured a deal with French music label, The Orchard, giving him a chance to reach audiences from far and wide.

Samilo was ecstatic when he broke the news yesterday.

“It is true that I have secured a deal with a French music label which has a heart for promoting African music,” he said.

The album that will ride the fame of The Orchard is Welcome to Malawi and the development comes at a time the music distribution system in Malawi has almost collapsed. This fact has not escaped the knowledge of the soft-spoken Samilo.

“Due to challenges Malawian artists face when distributing their products, only those who are exceptional sign deals with international organisations.

“You know the situation in Malawi; we do not have a distributor after OG Issa stopped doing the job. Therefore, it is not easy to reach out to all corners of the country, specifically, and the world at large. I am happy that I have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially because the label is known for promoting unique music. It promotes music which defines Africa,” he said.

The short of it is that the French company will distribute Welcome to Malawi album on legal online platforms throughout the world, stemming the tide of pirates while stocking the pockets of the Malawian artist.

“The Orchard has offered me a contract to distribute my tracks on all legal online distribution platform around the world, which will help me to sell Malawi outside with a big impact, hence putting our nation on the global map,” he said.

The album will be released on November 30, a Friday— because it is customary for European promoters to release albums on Friday.

The Orchard works hand-in-hand with Le Reve Africain, which is an active communication network for arts in Africa. This year, it has been promoting The African Dream, promoting music shows for artists from Western Africa, North Africa, Sahara Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa and Eastern Africa.

It has also been promoting fashion industry players, story-tellers, poets, actors, dancers, photos, paintings, short films, sculptures, as well as cultures from the Caribbean, Jamaica, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba.

Welcome to Malawi has tracks such as ‘Mother Malawi’, which touts precious features unique to Malawi, among them mountains, rivers, streams, hills, forests and lakes.

The other track is ‘Samalani Malawi’, which calls on Malawians to desist from practices such as rape, defilement, littering. It advocates good practices such as tree-planting and wildlife preservation.

There is also ‘Dzuwa pa Phiri la Zomba’, a track in which the persona implores people to get into the habit of setting for work in the morning.

‘Tikakumane’ is a love song that encourages women to maintain natural beauty. Of course, it promotes chauvinism because it preaches against the use of chemicals that aid in skin bleaching.

In ‘Chetechete’, a persona waxes lyric about the double-edged sword that is silence. Silence on wrongs in denominations, family level, at the workplace, among others, leads to the destruction of seemingly tranquil environments.

And, so, the African narrative continues in the gospel song ‘Mundifungatirabe’, the acoustic song ‘Ndikupita’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Welcome to Malawi’, the title track.

The music video was recorded at Audio Clinic Studio while the songs were recorded at Itamu Music Productions by Gresham Mokoena.

The Orchard, in a statement, conforms the deal with Samilo.

Which means Samilo is dining with the great; for The Orchard is ‘home to Oscar-nominated films” and “operates in over 30 territories”, according to its website.

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