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Zomba Prison Music Project set to drop second album

Grammy Award nominee Zomba Prison Music Project on Tuesday announced that their second album titled Umboni Ndilinawo is ready and that it will hit the market soon.

Malawi Prison Service Public Relations Officer Smart Maliro and the members of the prison music project confirmed the development on the sidelines of the 58th Grammy Awards screening and dinner organised by MultiChoice Malawi at Protea Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre.

“This second album is massive because the members have taken their time and they worked so hard to put the songs together. The 10-track album was recorded in Blantyre and we are now doing promotion,” said Maliro.

The group’s band leader Inspector Thomas Binamo, who has been the driving force teaching the inmates music said unlike the album I Have No Everything Here, which has raw songs, Umboni Ndilinawo is an album they have taken their time.

“This album has songs which took us time to compose unlike songs in I Have No Everything Here which are raw and most of the songs were done in a hurry. But this one we have taken our time,” said Binamo.

Zomba Prison Music Project received a nomination for their 20-track album I Have No Everything in the category of Best World Music Album.

However, Zomba Prison Music Project missed the award during event held at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, USA on Monday.

Malawians were hoping for nothing but the best from the Zomba Prison Music Project having surprised Malawians and the world receiving a Grammy nomination for the first time.

The award went to renowned Beninese-born singer-songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo.

Kidjo triumphed with the album titled Sings which she collaborated with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. The album was released on March 31, 2015.

According to available information, the album contains orchestral versions of nine songs from previous albums and two original songs.

The album is said to be arguably the most ambitious and spiritually arresting album the New York-based West African singer has recorded in a long and distinguished career.

The other artists who were nominated in the Best World Music Album are Gilbertos Samba Ao Vivo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Ella Spira & the Inala Ensemble and Anoushka Shankar.

Binamo revealed that the band has 17 members which include five warders.

One of the inmates Chikondi Salanje, who composed the title track ‘Umboni Ndilinawo,’ said they are happy to drop the second album which is coming after their Grammy nomination.

“Now people know us well but I can assure you that the songs in the second album are good and I am happy to have contributed greatly,” said the vocalist, keyboardist and sound engineer.

Salanje, who was all smiles during the dinner interacting with the world having entered Zomba Prison in 2011and is set to be released in August this year, said some of the songs people are expected to sample in the album include ‘Zandiwoneni,’ ‘Akunenepa Nako,’ ‘Ndikakhale Kuti,’ ‘Dziko Lapansi,’ ‘Yesu Munazalayo,’ and ‘Osalemba Ana Ntchito.’

This time around Salanje was not in a uniform to show he was an inmate but he was dressed decently for dinner and surely he enjoyed a three course meal which he has not had for years.

During the screening and dinner, MultiChoice Malawi donated two acoustic guitars to Zomba Prison Music Project as well as presented a certificate of Achievement for the Grammy nomination.

“As MultiChoice we thought of celebrating their Grammy nomination. Grammy Awards are big and this is why the international media has been following them just to tell their story. It was a surprise to many so the dinner was part of celebrating and also encouraging them,” said MultiChoice Malawi Sales and Marketing Manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda.

He said despite not managing to win the award, their nomination was a success.

“Malawi has never been nominated for the past 57 years so the nomination on itself was a success. This is why we thought apart from the dinner, we should give them something and we thought of guitars which will help them during practice and performances,” he said.

Maliro and team hailed MultiChoice for the guitars which he said will go a long way in helping the band which does not have enough equipment.

“We would like to thank MultiChoice for this donation; the band which is vital in exposing musical talent among inmates does not have enough equipment. We also would like to thank people for their support since we got a Grammy nomination,” he said.

Just to show their happiness with the two acoustic guitars, Binamo played one of the guitars performing one of the songs in the album I Have No Everything Here titled ‘Please Don’t Kill my Child.’

MultiChoice also took this event to reward one of its first HD Explora clients Bob Salijeni with a present.

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