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Lwanda’s family donates centre for Namoko, others

The family of renowned musician late Allan Namoko famed for hits such as Lameki was all smiles on Sunday when the family of Scotland-based poet John Lwanda donated a two-roomed house.

The house which will be used as an arts centre is in Mangazi Village in Thyolo where Namoko hailed from.

According to Lwanda, the centre will, among others, promote and preserve the country’s musical and artistic heritage including that of veteran Wyndyham Chechamba, late Namoko and Saleta Phiri and many other artists.

Speaking during the handover of the house to the family and community, Lwanda said he decided to build the facility in order to be an art information centre where people can access various artistic works.

He added that the other room would be used for hire for other activities as an income generating activity for the family.

Born in 1956, Namoko died in November 1995.

Namoko was the founder and leader of the Chimvu River Jazz Band and in his songs he fused Lhomwe traditional dances.

“The project which has taken over 10 years to fruition was planned when Namoko’s sister was still alive. I am happy that we have built a small facility that can take a few events like musicology, small group’s seminars and workshop just to help with small income generation for the clan,” Lwanda said.

He said Namoko was no ordinary musician as he belonged to the category of the likes of Malian singer Ali Farka Toure and American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Lee Hooker.

“That’s the kind of music that hits you first time you hear it, and that sort of blues fused with traditional blues music hit me from the word go. I got involved with music production through my late brother in-law, who was disabled and was a friend to Namoko and various other musicians,” Lwanda said.

He added: “Initially, we recorded few cassettes of Namoko’s Ana Osiyidwa album in 1991, and recorded some CDs of the same album in 1992 together with General Kathumba, Kasambwe and the last major recording was Chechamba.”

Group Village Headman Mangazi and Evangelist Magombo Chikanda hailed Lwanda and his family for the development.

According to the two, Namoko inspired many people with his mature and rich music which among others promoted love and hard work among people.

Some of the songs in which Namoko took time out to speak about love include Ana Osiyidwa, A Namoko Akulira and Mwalimba Mtima.

“As someone from this village, I have to commend Lwanda for this gesture. This will make sure that the works of different artists in the country including Allan Namoko are preserved for the next generation. The country needed a centre like this one in this village and it will also be easy for people to access Namoko’s works,” Chikanda said.

Namoko became an influential figure in the country’s music scene in the 1970s and 1980s and in later years, he toured around the world.

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