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Shaba gets spotlight on Westheath Avenue

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Lilongwe-based musician Sam Shaba has given the country the limelight as his Tumbuka track ‘Tabeya’ has featured on an international podcasting collective Westheath Avenue on a project tagged Serengeti.

Westheath Avenue is an international podcasting collective with members worldwide and strives to bring together self-proclaimed ‘ambassadors’ of quality music.

The project, created and produced by Westheath Avenue, is heavily influenced by jazz and also contains rhythm and blues, pop, hip-hop, bossa nova, neo-soul, electronica, nu-jazz, broken beat, acid jazz and many other genres.

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Apart from Shaba’s song, some of the artists featuring on the project are from countries such as Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Egypt, eSwatini and Ethiopia.

Shaba, who has starred in several festivals, the recent one being Tumaini in Dowa in November last year, said he is always excited “when our home-grown music is recognised and featured on international platforms”.

“It encourages me, as a creative, to know that I am doing the right thing and that my work is not only recognised locally but internationally. Secondly, it puts Malawi on the world map because, as you can see, the Westheath Avenue list has Malawi,” the singer and guitarist said.

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He also said that the development will help encourage other musicians in the country that “when we play music that is truly ours, authentic and excellently done; it does carry weight out there”.

He said the track ‘Tabeya’ is traditionally done.

“It is a prayer to God that we are like sheep. At times, we get out there by ourselves looking for greener pasture disregarding God’s guidance, forgetting that our God knows better where the greener pasture is found for us,” Shaba said of the track that features Jabay Nkhwazi as the main producer, Erik Paliani on guitars, Peter Likhomo on bass and Super DT on percussions.

The artist, who in November left for Nigeria for a music project, said, when he is creating his music, he has Africa on his mind.

“I aim at representing Malawi but much more the whole Africa. I create music for the local and international audience. I fuse Vimbuza, Ingoma, Mganda, Malipenga, Chiwoda etc and fuse with jazz and call it afrojazz and some call it afrocentric music,” Shaba said.

He said WestHeath Avenue found his music online because he has his albums on Spotify including Kukaya where ‘Tabeya’ features.

His manager Dingaani Mithi said Shaba is working on his new album to feature more international artists.

“This is a huge achievement for Malawi because no other artist has featured on this platform. Sam has shown to be a unique artist,” Mithi said.

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