SEVERAL top local musicians were among the graduating students of the Music Crossroads Academy in Lilongwe on Friday at a glamorous event that also saw the launch of a professional performance stage that has been bankrolled by the Norwegian government.
Musician Ernest Ikwanga of Mafilika Band and fellow band member Sam Mjura Mkandawire, who is the country’s Airtel Trace Music Star winner, were among the six graduates of the 2013 class after completing a year-long course.
Others included Jaco Jana, Kingsley Raphael Tembenu, Harold Selemani and Sanderson Mphapo. Norway Ambassador to Malawi Kikkan Haugen gave out certificates to the graduating students as well as attendance certificates to 11 students of 2014, including Sunbird Search for Star winner Adrian Kwelepeta. Haugen then later opened the performance stage through the cutting of a ribbon.
Moments later, lecturers of the academy, who perform under a banner of Groovers Band, were the first to stage the inaugural performance at the magnificently purpose built stage.
The Norwegian Ambassador described the newly launched stage as a beautiful place that will become a lively cultural scene in Lilongwe.
He then explained to the gathering why Norway supports culture in Malawi. “Culture has to do with identity… your background both as a human being … and as a nation. Culture has to do with building capacity; … building institutions. Culture has to do with development, creating jobs, knowing your past and building your future,” he said.
He announced that Norway will later this year establish a Cultural Fund in Malawi that will support the small activities within the lively and vivid and growing cultural scenes in Malawi.
“The other aspect of culture the way this project is designed and implemented is the aspect of cultural exchange,” Haugen said, adding that through what is known as the move project, Norwegian volunteers come to work at the music crossroads activities and he pledged that this will continue.
Music Crossroads Director Mathews Gayighayi Mfune commended the public for the confidence it has been giving them which he said has been the driving force behind their growth.
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