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Guitarist Ikwanga, Mbanaye back

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Mbayane and Ernest Ikwanga, the country’s flag carriers at the Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar, Tanzania, returned home Tuesday after their performances last Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

This was the first time for the two acts to perform at the festival, which is one of the biggest in Africa.

Ikwanga said yesterday that they left Tanzania by road on Sunday and arrived in Mzuzu on Monday.

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“We arrived in Lilongwe this morning (Tuesday). We are excited to have performed at this festival and we surely learned a lot,” Ikwanga said.

Ikwanga, who has performed with well-known acts including Mtebeti Wambali Mkandawire and US-based artist Masauko Chipembere, described Sauti za Busara as a serious festival which demands that artists put out their best.

“The first process is selection and, for you to be selected, you have to show the best of you as an artist,” Ikwanga said.

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Ikwanga has had stints performing at such platforms as the Lake of Stars Festival.

Now, having performed at Sauti za Busara, he said his focus is to perform at other top festivals.

“All in all, I can say that we represented the country well and enjoyed support during our performances,” he said.

Thoko Chilaga, a member of Mbanaye Band, also said they were happy to have made history by representing Malawi at the festival.

“We felt on top of the world carrying the country’s flag and all we had to do was to do our best and show that Malawi has the best when it comes to music,” Chilaga said.

Last Thursday, Mbanaye, which also has had stints at the Lake of Stars Festival, Nkhota-kota Festival and Tumaini, offered a 45-minute performance while Ikwanga performed for an hour on Saturday.

Mbanaye last year launched their extended play record (EP) titled Odi.

Other members of the group are guitarist Madalitso Symon, vocalist Tennis Banda, bass guitarist Sanderson Mphapo, drummer Gilbert Simuchoba and keyboardist Moses Shumba.

Last year, the country also had Madalitso Band at the festival. The band stunned people with their performance and ended up getting a deal that saw them touring Europe.

The country’s artists have not done well, in terms of patronising international platforms, with musicians only managing to perform in smaller outlets outside the country.

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