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Music Crossroads launches folksongs project phase II

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Mathews Mfune

Music Crossroads Malawi on Monday officially launched the folksongs project phase II at its premises in Area 23, Lilongwe.

Phase II of the project will involve re-interpretation, re-arrangement of original songs by Music Crossroads Academy using contemporary musical instruments in order to make them relevant to their context but without losing the values and originality of the folksongs.

The songs will also be recorded on audio and video and then transcribed into sheet music for safeguarding and distribution.

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In the first phase, over 300 songs were collected in musical notation and audio-visual form across the country.

Music Crossroads Malawi Director Mathews Mfune said during the launch that the project will contribute to growth of music education in the country.

“Not much has been done in Malawi, in terms of content and curriculum that represents us as Malawians. Our content, collected from our own villages, will be used in our schools to promote culture,” Mfune said.

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The project is financially supported by Rei Foundation whose manager Chimwemwe Sumani said the folksongs project will continue.

“By passing on the knowledge of these folksongs to new generations, the wisdom of Malawi is also being passed on. Traditional music can be a significant vehicle of cultural values and identity for many people,” Sumani said.

She said that the folksongs will be available on an online database along with a collection of Malawian folktales. The database, she said, will be accessible at National Library Service.

Acting Executive Secretary for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Malawi David Mlera welcomed the project saying it will promote co-existence and peace among Malawians.

Chief Arts Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Qipase Maulidi said the folksongs project augurs well with the National Cultural Policy, which seeks to safeguard and develop arts and culture in the country.

“Art education lagged behind and we are working with the Ministry of Education to put folksongs in the curriculum for primary education,” Maulidi said.

Music Crossroads Malawi, with support from Rei Foundation, Malawi National Commission for Unesco and National Library Service, started the Folksongs project in 2016.

The launch was spiced up by performances from The Folksong band based at Music Crossroads, Hear Us Children and Ingoma dancers from Traditional Authority Mlonyeni in Mchinji

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