By Richard Chirombo:
Malawi’s potential is often tied to its ‘landlocked’ status, so that even the Southern African Development Community, to which it is a member, proudly announces on its website, https:// www.sadc.int, that “Malawi is a landlocked country located in southern central Africa along the western part of the Great Rift Valley of Africa”.
Spoken a thousand times, such sentiments have the potential to break even the hardest of hearts. As they say, conformity has an effect on the creative mind.
But poet-cum-musician Mashallo Samilo is having none of it, and thinks that Malawi’s ‘smallness’ in the eyes of the world is exaggerated, “because, if the truth be told, Malawi is the best place to be; the place with the best potential in the world. We should not buy into the idea that we are land-locked because, taken lightly, that has the potential to make our minds locked and make us fail to see all the beauty all around”.
To immortalise his thoughts, the artist has this week released a music album, Welcome to Malawi, which immobilises talk that Malawi is as good as nothing.
In the artist’s words, Welcome to Malawi is a music project that is determined to document, preserve and trigger awareness of how rich and diverse Malawi in particular and Africa in general are.
“The album is blended with Malawian traditional dances in order to produce music which can truly define Malawi’s original sounds through the use of local instruments, which [instruments] were used to produce a single under the project Chetechete. Music videos also capture lives of typical Malawians,” he said on Monday.
He added that the project also seeks to expose Malawi’s culture to the world so that, over time, culture can become Malawi’s export product, apart from the green gold tobacco, tea and other fruits of the soil.
“It is also envisaged to inspire Africans to commercialise their culture through, say, exhibitions of our traditional dances, selling sculpture, weaving, beading, painting, pottery, among others,” he said.
The first track in the album is ‘Mother Malawi’, which highlights precious features such as mountains, rivers, streams, hills, forests and lakes
The second one is ‘Samalani Malawi’, which implores Malawians to be responsible citizens by not littering in the cities, avoiding deforestation and encouraging girls to focus on education, among other things.
Other tracks are ‘Tikakumane’, a love song that encourages women to maintain natural beauty; ‘Chetechete’ a poetic song about how silence kills society; ‘Mundifungatirabe’, a gospel beat; ‘Ndikupita’, a purely acoustic song; ‘Welcome to Malawi’, the title track; and ‘Tonight’.
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