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Madalitso Band invited to Sauti za Busara Festival

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Little known Lilongwe-based group Madalitso Band has been invited to perform at this year’s Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar.

Madalitso Band is part of this year’s line-up which has just been released and it includes South Africa’s Freshlyground which also performed at this year’s Lake of Stars Festival.

The other artists making up the list include Rocky Dawuni from Ghana, Yamoto Band from Tanzania, Sarabi from Kenya, Buganda Music Ensemble from Uganda and Imena Cultural Troupe from Rwanda.

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Organised by Busara Promotions, a non-profit non-governmental organisation, Sauti za Busara takes place annually during February in Stone Town, Zanzibar.

This year the festival runs from February 9 to February 12, 2017.

Sauti za Busara is Swahili for Sounds of Wisdom and according to the organisers, the festival features a rich variety of African music from the region with artists participating over four days.

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Manager, Emmanuel Kamwenje, said yesterday that the group got the invitation through musician Neil Nayar, who made an application.

Nayar, who is running an entertainment hub – Grittahz in Lilongwe said yesterday that he applied for the group to perform at the festival having been impressed by their performances.

“I am going to the festival myself and will be managing one of the stages. But then I decided to make applications for some groups in the country and luckily Madalitso was picked,” Nayar said.

He said Madalitso has been picked because of their rich traditional music adding that he is convinced that they will do well and fly the country’s flag.

Kamwenje through his Sterling Company also manages other artists and they are Kawoza River Band, Jirere Band of Nkhota-kota, Charles Chavala Mangwere Mkanthama and Ndingo Brothers.

“The festival organisers are paying for transport from mainland to the island plus the allowances so I am looking for support, transport from Lilongwe to Dar es Salaam, it can be by air or bus for three people,” he said.

Kamwenje said at the moment he is processing passports for the band members.

A brief background of the group on the festival’s page indicates that Madalitso Band was discovered basking outside a shopping centre in 2009.

Their vibrant playing, strong vocals and traditional style caught the attention of producer Kamwenje who recorded their first album the same year.

Kamwenje said the band is made up of vocalist Yobu Maligwa, who plays the babatoni and Josefe Kalekeni who plays the guitar.

He said the duo met in 2007 in Mtandire in Lilongwe.

“If they are not playing around town in places like markets, bottle stores and hired in weddings or engagements, they do hired works mainly burning bricks,” he said.

But of late, Madalitso Band is now being hired to play in uptown business centres such as Koko Bean, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, N1 and Grittahs Camp among others.

Kamwenje said meeting them in 2009 was something special.

“They did arouse my interest because of the sound and also the use of the traditional instruments. It is very rare to see an artist on say a bass guitar and also playing lead vocals but Yobu does that,” Kamwenje said.

He further said that it was in the same year that he took them to the studio and produced an album titled Fumbi La Nyemba which is currently on the market.

“Early this year, we produced another one [album] but it is not yet titled. Those that have listened to the new album are interested to take it to Europe for mastering and distribution on the international market,” he said.

Kamwenje said there was talent in the country which needs to be supported fully adding that he was hoping to raise enough to take the group to Sauti za Busara.

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