Making a difference with guitar lessons

Guitar Club Malawi, a group of experienced guitarists and novices formed in 2015, says it has transformed many musicians into instrumentalists.

The dawn of technology also promoted computerised music productions leading many artists to lose interest in playing music instruments such as the guitar. This, according to the club’s co-founder Wachituta Thombozi, is among the reasons they founded the club.

Participants learning from James Kuchilala (Seated)

He said the group was formed to create a platform for upcoming artists to tap skills from established artists.

Thombozi said Malawian music lacks identity because there is little emphasis on instrumentation among artists. This, he says, has affected chances for musicians to break on the global market

“Many musicians are capable of doing voices and not playing instruments. This, in the end, affects the uniqueness of their productions when they go for recording in the studio. They cannot read and follow the knots, and as a result, our music sounds the same,” he said.

Although the idea started small, the concept has been accepted by many. The group meets every Sunday afternoon at Blantyre Park. During the meetings, the artists share skills and discuss emerging issues.

Currently, at least 30 artists turn up for the meetings to learn or to share skills. The meetings have also attracted established artists such as Wycliffe Chimwendo, Eric Paliani, Francis Mijiga and Francis Chimtengo.

“It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of the beneficiaries we have reached out to because every meeting welcomes new faces, but many artists, including established ones, are now playing at least a guitar and this is improving the quality of their work,” said Thombozi.

However, the club is only reaching artists based in the Southern Region, particularly Blantyre.  Thombozi said they would have loved to extend the initiative to other regions, but they are constrained financially because the meetings are free.

Paliani said it is important because Malawi does not have institutions that offer such lessons formally.

“I believe if they could go a step further and form an association of their own to benefit from exchange visits with other players from the region, it would really help,” he said.

Another beneficiary, Mphatso Mwapasa said: “I joined the meetings without any guitar background, but now I am able to play all the opening codes for most of the popular songs.

“The advantage is that the meetings are interactive. When you find it difficult, you seek help from the people around you.”

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