The festival season is here

L

ast weekend Lilongwe played host to probably one of the biggest local jazz festivals in history. The two-day event pulled together some of the best and biggest names in local jazz.

Talk of Erik Paliani, Owen Mbilizi, Rudo Chakwera, Rick Deja, Find Codi, Smooth Grooves, Kamuzu Academy Orchestra, Peter Mawanga Spare Fingers, Greshan Mokwena, Lusibiro Band among other stars, were all there.

Only going in its second year, the organisation and allure that the Lilongwe Jazz Festival has shown so far, it gives so much hope that the jazz story has potential to tilt on the positive slant. When the organisers hatched the idea, they probably did not have it in their mind that a year later, the event would generate as much interest and excitement as it has done.

Many pretenders have come on the music scene in many fronts and forms. They have brought in their ideas which they have failed to sustain in the long run. Mainly because they had no clear vision on what they aimed to achieve when they set out.

Others because they went into the thick of things without due prior preparations. Yet others simply lacked the fire and passion for what they were doing. Resultantly, after facing the first hurdle, they were knocked out.

The Lilongwe Jazz Festival team appears to be a machine which is well-oiled with its goals set for the long term. While many thought it was not possible to have a jazz festival in Malawi, featuring dominantly local players, they have shown they have what it takes to change the narrative.

As summer is slowly approaching, the music and art world is covered with a cloud of excitement. The season of music, art and cultural festivals is upon us once again. And the Lilongwe Jazz Festival has set a perfect tone of what fun lovers are expecting and should expect this year.

On the horizon is the much anticipated Sand Music Festival which has already started flighting some of the headliners for this year’s event. Having flown so high last year and superseded their standards in recent years, they are definitely aching to go one step better.

Surprisingly there has been no word from Team Entertainers Promotions thus far as to whether the bi-annual Sound and Light Concert, which is due, will return this year. Alongside the Sand Music Festival, these are two events which are dominated by local acts and therefore command a special affinity among local music lovers. We hope Tonderai Banda will talk to us soon.

The internationally acclaimed Lake Of Stars Festival will head to the shores of Lake Malawi in NkhataBay this year. As per tradition, music lovers will be looking forward to what the organisers of the festival will deliver for them this year.

And wait a minute: Didn’t the organizers of the Nyasa Music Festival say they are making a swift return in Lilongwe before the year ends? Yes they did indicate so. Following a not-so-impressive maiden event at Kamuzu Stadium, the Nyasa Music Group clearly wants to atone for their error.

After going back on the drawing board, they announced that the event will make a return, featuring almost the same cast but now in a different setting. This time the festival will take place in the Capital City, Lilongwe. It will be interesting to see how the event will turn out this time.

With the Umthetho wa Ngoni Jere and Kulamba cultural ceremonies behind us, much focus will now fall on the Mulakho wa Alhomwe cultural festival which is coming sometime in October.

This year’s event is a special one as it will celebrate the lives of two of its prominent founders in late former president Bingu wa Mutharika and the recently fallen Lhomwe paramount chief Ngongoliwa.

These two names are no ordinary names in the history of the cultural event and it will be hoped that their memory will be done justice for all the service they offered to get the event to where it is today. n

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