By Sam Banda Jnr:
For a long time the creative industry has been sidelined in the country.
But there are institutions such as Music Crossroads Malawi that have come out to initiate programmes targeting the creative industry.
It is in this vein that Music Crossroads Malawi decided to come out to help grow the music industry and the institution has been training artists, some of which are doing well on the market and they include Skeffa Chimoto.
With lots of programmes on the market, Music Crossroads Malawi alongside Music Crossroads Mozambique, have been initiating an exchange programme which has helped grow talent between Malawi, Mozambique, Brazil and Norway.
Through a programme known as Musicians Orgamisers Volunteer Exchange (Move), several young artists have founded their way to countries such as Norway, Brazil and Mozambique on an exchange programme with artists from Norway, Brazil and Mozambique coming down to Malawi.
The Move project has been running for years and, this year, another team of artists has been selected to go to Norway, Mozambique and Brazil having successfully impressed during auditions they underwent.
Music Crossroads Malawi Director, Mathews Mfune, said the Move project has been one of their important programmes which has shaped a lot of young artists and that it has helped them build their confidence as well as train in stage management.
“We have the names for this year. The selected candidates went through a rigorous process of application, interviews and auditions and have thus fulfilled all the requirements to becoming a mover,” Mfune said.
Mfune said Move is a volunteer project that exchanges young musicians and organisers between partner organisations that include Music Crossroads Malawi, Music Crossroads Mozambique, JM Norway and Projecto Guri in Brazil.
“This programme is fully funded through Norec by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are now in the seventh year and over 30 young musicians have benefitted and are progressing well in their careers,” he said.
The artists going on an exchange programme this year are Chisomo Chimoto and Francis Thera, who are going to Brazil, Daniel Khoviwa (Norway) and Winnie Msowoya and Lissah Banda, who are going to Mozambique.
Some of the artists, who have gone on the Move exchange programmes are doing well on the market include Piston Mtonga, who teaches children the violin at Music Crossroads Malawi, Rebecca Mwalwenje, Jaco Jana and Phalyce Kumdana, who stars for Daughters Band.
“All I want is to build classical music and this why I started working with children but all these projects have come about because of the Move project I underwent in Norway we learned a lot,” Mtonga said.
Chimoto, who is going to Brazil is a journalist by profession and holds a diploma obtained from Malawi Institute of Journalism in 2016.
She started her musical journey in 2013 when she joined Mvama CCAP Praise Team where she was elected as a chairlady at the age of 19 and has been in the music directing department ever since.
Chimoto she has been involved in a number of musical activities in the country and in 2019, she was one of the seven artists in Malawi, who composed and recorded election theme song urging and encouraging fellow youth to vote.
“I am excited to be part of the Move exchange programme and I hope to learn a lot in Brazil,” she said.
Khoviwa, who is also going to Norway, is a student at Music Crossroads Academy currently studying piano as his main instrument. He is currently pursuing a professional music certificate at the academy.
The youthful artist was introduced to music more especially jazz by his elder brother, who plays the guitar.
Khoviwa, has been playing the piano for four years and he started with playing the guitar but switched to the piano after a year of guitar lessons.
He has been an active member on the local music scene since 2016, starting out as keyboard player for a local group called Mapale Band.
“I am passionate about music and I want to grow my art and so I am thankful to God for this opportunity,” Khoviwa said.
Thera, who is also going to Brazil said music has been in him since childhood and that in his family they do music.
“My father is a pianist and vocalist together with the sisters and also has a recording studio,” he said.
In 2007, Thera started music as a vocalist and in 2011 it is when he started showing interest in musical instruments and based much on drums with basics in piano and acoustic guitar lessons.
Lissah, who will go on an exchange programme in Mozambique, describes herself as a talented and proactive person with ever growing passion of music.
“My desire is to become a good musician with standards and to be able to share knowledge and skills with different musicians across the globe,” she said.
Lissah is currently part of Hear Us Children, a group of young talented youths that do traditional and contemporary dances.
Msowoya, who will join Lissah in Mozambique, is currently studying music where voice is her main instrument and piano is her minor instrument.
Although she has faced criticism from her parents on her music exploits, Msowoya has stuck to her talent until her parents finally changed their decision and started supporting her.
“We are happy with the progress of this programme. We have youth, who have learned a lot and are today engaged in a lot of projects on their own. Some are even teaching at the academy which is very good,” Mfune said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues