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More opportunities for Malawian acts

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

For a long time, Malawian artists have failed to earn opportunities to perform in international platforms particularly in Europe.

But the trend seems to be changing, with more players attracting a lot of interests from Europe to star in festivals as well as engage in different projects.

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Doors opening outside the country is a clear sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Last weekend saw Hear Us Children from Music Crossroads Malawi as well as Alleluya Band leave the country to represent Malawi in Brazil and Italy, respectively, on exchange and annual performances.

Musician Faith Mussa is also in Europe, where he is engaged in projects which will take him to Austria and Germany.

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And, today, Madalitso Band, a duo of Yobu Maligwa and Yosefe Kalekeni from Ntandire Township in Lilongwe, leaves the country for Europe where they are set to hold shows.

“We are ready, we expect to do a lot there and represent Malawi and show that there is talent,” Kalekeni, who plays the acoustic guitar, which has a picture of the two in their youth, said.

This is not the first time for Madalitso to perform in Europe as they have been there, having attracted interest from organisers through their participation at the Sauti za Busara Festival in Tanzania in 2017.

“I think we are on the right track; we have so many artists getting opportunities to perform outside the country, which is good. Faith in Europe at the moment and then we also have Madalitso. We have also seen other artists performing in other countries,” Madalitso Band’s co-manager Emmanuel Kamwenje said.

Maligwa said the many opportunities artists are getting now are a clear testimony that the country has potential and that the government needs to take it seriously.

“It is high time the government and the corporate world took much interest in supporting artists and the creative industry. In other countries the situation is different as artists are getting all the support. There is need to be focused,” Maligwa, who plays the one-stringed big guitar known as babatoni, said.

The two then perform two songs from their latest album Wasalala warming up for the Europe tour.

“The experience has been great so far. In the past years our performances have only been in the streets but to embrace international stages is something huge. What we are looking forward to is a chance in our lives where we are able to make enough and fend for our families; otherwise, for now, we are still struggling,” Maligwa said.

Madalitso Band is into a 60-day tour, with France as the main hub where they are set to hold 20 gigs.

Apart from France, the musical group will also perform in Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).

In United Kingdom, Madalitso Band will perform at Womad and Wilderness festivals where Faith is also set to star.

Kamwenje, who manages Madalitso alongside Neil Nayar, said they would want Malawi music to penetrate the international stage and open up more doors.

“It is not only about Madalitso Band but we are looking at opening more doors for Malawian artists. We need to embrace all these international festivals if we are to shine,” he said.

Madalitso Band debuted with Fungo la Nyemba.

Their Wasalala album has done well earning itself a place on the Transglobal World Music Chart, which is a network of world music specialised journalists, critics, writers and DJs.

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