Promoting culture through music

Afro jazz artist Mzati is set to launch his latest project called Mtolo 1. The artist says from now onwards he will be addressing his albums as mtolo/mitolo (compilations) as a means of promoting his mother tongue. His last project was an album This is Malawi. Our Arts Editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Mzati to understand his decision and other details about his album.

Mzati: I personally think we look down on our culture in Malawi

Q

: Please introduce your project?

A

: I am launching a new compilation called Mtolo 1 (Mponda Matiki) and at the same time I am launching the name ‘Mtolo’ meaning from now onwards my whole music compilations will be named ‘Mtolo’ instead of album/extended playlist. I did this to fully give in to my nation and culturally to be proud of my mother’s tongue.

Q

: What motivated you to change to Mtolo and why now?

A

: I personally think we look down on our culture in Malawi, mostly our language. Everybody wants to present themselves in a European way regardless of who they are. English nowadays is becoming more of our first language than Chichewa and other local languages to the point whereby when a fellow Malawian speaks bad English he/she is laughed at but when a foreign person speaks bad Chichewa we applause and correct them with love. To me I think calling my albums/compilations as ‘mtolo’ will bring people together and now is the right time because at least I have got attention and I can use that to my advantage to build a better Malawi. Our culture is beautiful and unique and we must celebrate it through language among other aspects.

Q

: So, what is in the new compilation? Does it reflect the new direction you have taken in naming your music?

A

: This new compilation consist of mixed messages for example Mponda Matiki is the title of my compilation and the Mponda Matiki itself is a gospel song of appreciation. The album also talk about gender-based violence as well, love, going back to school and more. And yes, it is reflecting back to the direction I have taken because all we need is love to appreciate who we are and love is God if we know him we can’t do violence or look on who we really are.

Q

: You are launching this at the end of the year. How do you describe the year just ending where we saw several artists launching their albums plus a number of music and arts festivals. How was the year for you?

A

: Well it has not been easy. This year was very challenging…as you said lots of albums were launched as well as festivals so competition was high…that is why I chose this month as I wanted to at least give people a room after so many events this summer. Despite the challenges, I put in a lot of work this year. So far it has been an active year for me and I have learnt a lot.n

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