It is often said that practice makes perfect. The same can be said about education. One can only get better when one gets training in their particular field of interest.
And this is particularly true for the 30 aspiring musicians who have gone into camp to be trained in music.
The 2018 edition of Malawi Music Project (MMP) an annual programme where aspiring musicians’ get professional training kicked off on Monday at the Music Crossroads Malawi (MCM).
Run in partnership with Peace Corps, the one week music camp is for young musicians selected from across the country, according to MCM director, Mathews Mfune.
“The annual programme sees Peace Corps through their network help to identify young musicians from the villages and music crossroads identifies from the urban areas.
After going through both life skills and musical training, 30 finalists will battle it out for a top prize of a recording session at Music Crossroads Academy.
“Actually, we call for applications and interested musicians apply.
This year Music Crossroads alone got over 70 applications while Peace Corps got over 40. Peace corps then selects 15 and music crossroads also selects 15 to make a total of 30 participants.
We make sure that we balance the gender to 50-50 between boys and girls,” explained Mfune.
On top of that, Peace Corps bring in band managers who team up with five others from Music Crossroads.
“This is a residential camp and we do a lot of fundraising by ourselves in order to make this project happen. We have been doing this project since 2010 and now it’s hosted by Music Crossroads Academy.
When the participants arrive, they go through both life skills and musical training and a number of inspirational talks from experienced musicians. The participants are divided into five bands and they work together and at the end of the camp they do a battle of the bands,” he said.
The programme has over the years proved to be a spring board for aspiring musicians.
“So far there are a number of talents that have been discovered and helped through this project. Many of them have launched their musical career after participating in the programme,” he said.
Some of the musicians who have launched their career through this camp include Phalyce Kumdana, now bassist for the Daughters Band, Rebecca Mwalwenje, Joseph Tsumba of Groovaz Band and Cliford Msiska.
Mwalwenje who returns to the MMP stage as band manager under MCM says the camp is relevant to every aspiring artist wishing to make a career out of musician.
“l attended this camp as a participant in 2010 and at that time, l was developing my career at music centre of Lusubilo in Karonga.
“It is relevant to an aspiring musician as it is like an introduction to your journey in music. It helped me to choose my path, because when you are new in the industry, any kind of music feels like perfect for you,” she said.
She said one thing she took home from the camp was originality.
“Today, I do music which identifies me through vocals, rhythm and genre. I focus much on my tribe Kiyangonde from Karonga which has a lot of rhythms like Mapenenga and Ndolo just to mention a few,” she said.
Mwalwenje said now she sounds unique as she blends traditional music from Karonga with her own touch.
“I also sing in many languages while being able to express myself through dance and cultural history of different rhythms, folktales among others,” she said.