MUSICIAN Adrian Kwelepeta, who is based in Lilongwe, is back. Having starred in the Sunbird Search for A Star now E-Wallet and came out top in 2014, Kwelepeta is determined to show more of his musical verve.
He has performed in different platforms but he is out with a new album titled Live or Die Story to be launched at Grittah’s Camp in Lilongwe tonight. Kwelepeta admits that since bursting onto the scene in 2014 when he won the Sunbird Search for a Star contest, he has been quiet.
But just like his emotional style of playing, so much is below the surface. In these last years Kwelepeta has released two albums, and played countless solo shows for all kinds of events and festivals in the country.
For an artist like Kwelepeta, who plays a blend of R n B, Rock and Hip-Hop, finding a suitable producer was not easy. He describes himself as a visionary musician who sees every element of his music before his eyes. Kwelepeta said that he was not satisfied with his first album, as he did not gel creatively with the producer, and had budgetary constraints.
But this time he is more than pleased and considers the album a true reflection of his music. Live or Die Story will be released under the UK label Spare Dog Records, who have their studio in Nkhata Bay.
It is run by Mattias Stålnacke, and works on a profit-share basis, with capital provided by the label. He has recorded albums for several Malawian artists including Netherlands-based Danny Kalima, Street Rat and one-stringed guitar player Gasper Nali.
“Mattias has a great understanding of all contemporary styles and so he was the suitable person and a perfect fit for my album,” Kwelepeta said.
He added that: “This is a beautiful studio which overlooks Lake Malawi and is full of the kind of peace one needs to get deep into the music and find all those small but important inspirations,” he said. Kwelepeta said he has been recording since the end of 2016 and that the whole album is recorded completely live, with almost all of the instruments being played by him.
Whether he is rocking the drums, jamming the bass or playing his signature style of acoustic guitar, as soon as he is with the music, it takes over and it is clear to see that this is an artist for whom music is the very life blood. And vocally, he is also good although he takes more of the Western styles rather than being an original Malawian artist.
The launch will take place at the recently re-awoken Grittah’s’ Camp in CCDC. Once the number one entertainment destination in Lilongwe, Grittah’s Camp was unused for the past 10 years until it was reopened in September 2016.
Since then, it has been hosting one or more live music events weekly. Owners of Grittah’s Camp heaps praise on Kwelepeta, saying he has been his huge fan. “I love his sound, his guitar playing, his honesty and his bravery,” said Neil Nayar, who is also a musician.
Kwelepeta grew up with a single mother who has been a rock and inspiration for him in his career.
She is the one who bought him his first guitar at nine years old and it was one of those four string banjos that you can find in the market, but since he first felt the buzz of the strings, they have never stopped vibrating. “It’s emotional, it’s dark, it’s real.
Above all else it this album will take you on a musical journey like no other, to leave you laughing, crying and spiritually energised. It’s a Live or Die Story,” he said.
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