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Music weds permaculture

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

The United States (US) – based jazz musician Masauko Chipembere Jr is home. He is here to partake in several projects, one of it being raising funds for a permaculture initiative.

Permaculture, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, is a set of design principles centred around whole systems-thinking, simulating or directly utilising patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding and community.

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“I believe that permaculture is a vital next step for Malawians in the villages. My mother’s organisation, Win Malawi, works with many farmers in villages in Mangochi,” he said.

Masauko said he has been running a GoFundMe campaign to take 10 farmers to permaculture paradise to learn from Luwayo Biswick.

“We will have workshops and all these are aimed at connecting people to permaculture. We are starting on August 1 2019 (yesterday) and will end on August 5, which is my father’s birthday,” he said.

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Masauko said, in-between, he would be engaged in music concerts, citing performances at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre and Grittah’s Camp in Lilongwe on Saturday.

“I am excited to perform at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre on Thursday (yesterday) and then Grittah’s Lilongwe on Saturday (tomorrow). The two shows are different in their setups.

“As I indicated, I will be doing concerts and supporting these workshops. All of this is happening in honour of my father,” Masauko said.

He zeroed in on his Masauko album, named after his father, saying it is in honour of his father.

The Masauko album was released on June 16 2019.

“I believe that permaculture is the kind of thing my father dreamed of in Malawi.

He wanted us to possess knowledge of the modern scientific ways of doing everything and then apply that brilliance (with respect to our culture) in the building of Malawi,” Masauko said.

He said he was happy that, since the release of Masauko album, the response from people all over the world has been overwhelming.

“People can hear that my music has come to a new level, playing with Ernest Ikwanga, Chambota Chirwa, Mjura Mkandawire and Kyle. The most important response though will be the response of the people of Malawi. I still maintain that this is an album dedicated to my father; their hero. His voice can, actually, be heard in one song. The reaction I am most excited and nervous for is the reaction of those right here in Malawi,” the singer and guitarist said.

His father born on August 5 1930 and played a significant role in fighting for independence.

The singer and song writer, whose primary instruments are the acoustic guitar and voice, said he would continue to use music to disseminate key messages apart from entertaining the masses.

Masauko recorded the album under his label, Come to Life Music. Masauko is his third album since he made two with BLK Sonshine.

Talking of the album, which he recorded in South Africa, Masauko said it fused what he learned as a child born in exile in Los Angeles, the US, with the rich musical culture of Malawi.

“People will also get to appreciate some kwasakwasa, Congolese rhumba, calypso, jazz, reggae, funk and hip hop in the album. This is all about connecting Malawi with the African diaspora through music. At the same time, to remind all of humanity we are all rooted in Africa,” Masauko said.

Masauko, who has been performing all over the world, began singing at the age of seven.

He studied jazz and opera at Cal State University Northridge in 1988 and it was there that he got his first real exposure to jazz and developed a deep love for the art of improvisation.

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