From Mtandire to the world

Whosoever coined the adage fortune favours the brave had Malawi’s Madalitso Band in mind.

The duet, comprising friends Yobu Malingwa and Yosefe Kalekeni, was unknown until 2017 when they openly asked the public to finance their longtime dream of performing outside Malawi.

The duet performing at Sauti za Busara in 2017

As luck would have it, the band was invited to perform at one of the biggest African music festivals, Sauti za Busara, in Tanzania but they had no means of travelling there.

Luckily, they went, and the band has gained ground since then. Last year, the duo travelled to Europe where they toured Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and France, sharing the stage with some of the big names in the global music industry such as Eminem.

And now, the band, on March 29, released its first album, Wasalala, which was recorded by jazz maestro Erik Paliani and mixed in The Netherlands.

According to the band’s co-manager Emmanuel Kamwenje, the album has eight songs and the band has since done 1 000 vinyls and 1 000 compact discs.

“The album is also out on major platforms like Spotify. Some of the tracks on the album are Naphiri, Mita, Chikondi Cholowa and Malawi Vina Vina. The latter is also out for sampling,” he said.

Kamwenje said, in June, the band will go on another tour of Europe to promote the album.

“It starts on June 6 with shows in Sweden and Norway, then France, Switzerland, Germany before concluding in UK on August 9,” he said.

The other co-manager, Neil Nayar, said the album is under Bongo Joe Records, a label from Geneva in Switzerland, which fell in love with Madalitso Band at first glance.

“They loved the band’s philosophy, when the music inside is so strong that it says, ‘so what that we can’t afford instruments? We’ll build our own.’ The music inside Madalitso Band is so strong, and it comes out effortlessly, full of syncopated rhythms, lush harmonies and a solid back beat,” he said.

Nayar said the band made connection with the label when it performed at Sauti Za Busara.

While the Wasalala CDs will be available in Malawi after the Europe tour, the two musicians from Mtandire are no longer street performers. They are smiling their way around the world.

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