Chiwanja Cha Ayao has honoured Yao musicians for their outstanding work in promoting the Yao culture through music.
The cultural organisation also thanked the artists for being outstanding in the music industry and making a positive impact through their art.
The group’s entertainment patron Paul Mtoliro of Abiti Malembe fame said they wanted to acknowledge the role some musicians play to motivate up-and-coming artists.
He said: “Apart from celebrating our culture and displaying various traditional dances ranging from beni, m’bwiza, litiwo, masewe, we thought it wise to award the late Atoht Manje, Waly Cris, Grey John Mtila and living legend Giddes Chalamanda for promoting our Yao culture through music.”
“For instance, Mtila, who is the father of former president Joyce Banda, was a professional drummer and went further to Kamuzu Academy where he taught music. He deserves great recognition. On the other hand, songs by Atoht Manje, Waly Cris and Giddes Chalamanda are household songs.We are proud of them despite that some are not alive to receive these awards in person.”
Mtoliro also praised a young up-and-coming female musician, Asante, saying despite being a graduate, she is following the footsteps of others as she has released her songs in Yao.
United Democratic Front president and member of Parliament for Mangochi South Lilian Patel said the four artists deserve more apart from the awards.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia concurred with Patel, adding that sometimes it is hard to accept that the artists are gone forever.
She said: “Songs like Mchape, Ikwezire ndege, Achalume and Linny are dear to many, not only Yaos. These songs are played across the country. Our musicians should blend their music with traditional dances like beni and manganje. This way the music will live forever.”
The event was celebrated under the theme ‘Continuity of progressive Yao culture and traditions through generations”.