The growth that Afro-soul musician Lawi has enjoyed over the past few years has seen the award-winning artist forming a new band to replace the old Mango Band.
The new Mango Band comprises foreign artists, with Lawi, born Francis Phiri, the only Malawian in the group.
This, according to the artist, is one of the positive results of his recently signed contract with South Africa-based Gallo Africa Music Company which will promote and market his music worldwide.
“I think there is always a need for growth. In the past years, as a brand we have aimed at expanding our network and visibility worldwide. We used different methods to achieve this, and incorporating pan Africanism was one of our great ideas as it has worked well.
“The Lawi brand aims to promote Malawi culture and values, and aims to expose Malawian art to the world, this is why we include the members of Lawi and the Mango Malawi in our events calendars for this year and beyond,” he explained.
Lawi said the new Mango Band has members from Malawi as well as southern and west Africa.
“We did auditions and found Shegun West from Nigeria, Sylvester Aklamavo from Benin, David Mutanda from DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and Jose Clark from South Africa and of course myself,” he said.
Lawi added that the world was fast becoming one global village; hence, the need to embrace the fact that times have changed and join in the revolution.
He said the music that the band will be performing is Malawian, the direction is Malawian only that the players are African.
“This supplies the world with a great blend and the impact will be much greater,” Lawi said.
He also said that the decision was also influenced by Gallo as any company with interest in brand would have done.
Said Lawi: “The company is in a business. As such, all decisions are aimed at making a worthwhile investment. Gallo trusted me, a small brand, without a hit that shook the world. It was purely on trust that we had to sign a contract. As such, there was need for doing something that would turn Lawi into a brand that would not flop, as a means of meeting the needs of my management as well as protecting their interest.”
Ethnomusicologist Waliko Makhala believes the musician is stepping into the right direction in the era full of trends.
“We are now living in a global village and the whole music or creative industry is changing. The idea of playing with different nationalities is progressive. I have no problem with Lawi’s approach,” he said.
Since shooting to the limelight in 2014 with his debut album, international gates continue to open for the musician. n