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USA art expert brings African music exhibition

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Director of Creative Action at Otis College of Art and Design in United States of America (USA), Rich Shelton, is exhibiting some of the records of African music including Malawi at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre.

The exhibition, which includes works of the country’s visual artist Jim Alifisher, opened last Thursday during the Sounds of Malawi Acoustic Session and will run until June 28 2019.

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JCC Director, Luc Deschamps, described Shelton as a great collector of records of all kinds, including African music.

“He owns thousands of records. This trip is his fourth to Malawi and Jacaranda. He knew our art gallery at JCC and thought it would be a very interesting exhibition – notably with a few records of Malawian music,” Deschamps said.

He said this was an interesting exhibition as records covers illustrate music through art and photographs.

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“Looking at the exhibition, you feel like listening to the music and it also takes you through time as some of the musicians are very young on their debut album covers such as Youssou Ndour from Senegal,” he said.

Deschamps said the exhibition was a travel through African music of the past 60 years and that it illustrates a variety of African music from, among others, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

“This exhibition goes very well with our Sounds of Malawi Acoustic session as several of the records covers are from acoustic bands or traditional bands,” he said.

Shelton said he was priviledged to exhibit African music records he has collected over the years.

“I love African music and most of these records I collected during my visits to the countries and some I had to dig deeper to buy. I teach African music and so, for me, to understand it better I needed to have this music. Africa has rich and mature sound. I actually play all these songs on the record player,” he said.

Some of the exhibited works from Malawi include Malawi Grooves 1950, 57 and 58 by Hugh Tracey.

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