East or West, far and wide, they say home is best.
After spending 17 years in the US without returning to Malawi, Tiwonge Mhango returned home on Thursday and, in a bid to unite with his roots, he has since cut a party anthem with versatile rapper Young Kay.
“I am so excited to step back in Malawi. It has been long, but finally, God has made it possible for me to be back home after spending almost two decades in a foreign land,” said the Atlanta-based musician who is famed as part of pioneering gospel group Mhango Salvation Singers.
He is younger brother to Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) president Chimwemwe Mhango and US-based singer Gift Mhango.
Mhango said he roped in Young Kay to celebrate his home coming and enable him reconnect with the local music industry.
“Young Kay is one talented guy I have always respected. I must admit that it has been exciting to do a collabo with him. I am sure there will be many more projects we shall work together on and engage other local artists too,” he said, adding that urban music in Malawi has grown tremendously and that the Internet has escalated its spread beyond the borders.
“There is a great deal of music talent in Malawi. It is just a matter of time before the world wakes up to appreciate this reality,” observed Mhango.
In an interview, Young Kay said he does not take it for granted to be recognised by an experienced musician of Mhango’s calibre.
“To me, it is a great honour to collaborate with Tiwonge. These are some of the guys that pioneered the movement of urban music in Malawi way back in the late 90s. It has been a defining moment and I am looking forward to more projects as we exchange knowledge and expertise to uplift our talents,” he explained.
The track, Mbuye, Mbuye, is available for downloads. The instrumentation of the song comprises a fusion of the African beat, R&B and some elements of soft pop.
In the track, Mhango basically thanks God for his endless love, mercy and success.
Before leaving for the US in the late 90s, Tiwonge and Gift set the urban music charts on fire with their legendary Turn It Up song which was an anthem of that generation.
While in Malawi, Mhango plans to shoot a video with Young Kay before returns to Georgia, Atlanta where he is a businessperson in logistics and transportation.
Mhango has an album to his credit titled Shine which was released in 2009 and comprised hits which dominated local airwaves such as the title track Kulibe, Pamtetete and Send Your Fire.
Meanwhile, in his efforts to reconnect with the country, Mhango stormed Bwaila in Lilongwe to plant trees on Friday.
“It’s sad to see our country going bare, we need to be environmental friendly people by, among other things, making tree planting exercises a habit,” said Mhango, who received a warm welcome by locals in Bwaila.
According to the artist, his coming to Malawi makes him appreciate the roots of his life, adding that he would love to establish a Tiwonge Mhango Foundation in the near future.
Among other things, the community of Bwaila gave Mhango a treat of traditional dances such as gulewankulu
“There’s more happiness in giving than in receiving. I want to share with others and perhaps make their lives better. I would like to make life full of meaning, purpose and impact to others,” he explained.