We need more female guitarists

Female guitarist Britt C is one of the few passionate female instrumentalists in Malawi. From her days as a member of the all-female band Krazy Colours to her solo career, she is an accomplished musician. Recently, she announced her intentions to give free guitar lessons to girls to increase the number of female instrumentalists increases. Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Britt C for details:  

Britt C: Being in this male dominated industry is not an easy task

Q

: You are one of the few female instrumentalists in Malawi. How did you find yourself playing the guitar?

A

: My passion for guitar grew when I watched Tracy Chapman performing. She was playing guitar and singing at the same time. I thought to myself if a black woman can play a guitar and sing at the same time, then I can also do the same. Since then, I have always loved the guitar.

Q

: As a female instrumentalist, do you get the support and respect from your male counterparts?

A

: It’s 50:50. There are times I could get the support from some people. There are people who will come in to help me where they see I am lacking or even offer materials needed, but there are some other people who just don’t like it to see a female instrumentalist on stage. I think they feel underrated and they will say discouraging things. But I just brush off such people and do my thing. So yea the battle is still huge for some people to accept us as female instrumentalists.

Q

: Let us talk about your plan to teach girls how to play the guitar. What has motivated you to start this movement?

A

: Yea, I will speak from my point of view why I feel there is a need for girls to learn to play instruments. Since I have known the guitar, it has been my friend, my companion. I don’t have to go and gossip, I don’t have time to mingle around with men as I spend most of the time practising and trying new things on my guitar or listening to music. So, if more girls learn to play instruments, their focus will be on their career. They won’t have time to play around with boys and get unwanted pregnancies. They will have no time to gossip but play around with their guitar trying to learn new things.

Q

: You are a member of Krazy  Colours Band which is an all-girl group. How do you work as an all-girl band in a male-dominated field?

A

: I believe the passion for what keeps us moving in this male-dominated industry. A lot have encouraged us to move forward. Others have let us down in so many ways. We have tried to give up so many times because being a female in this male-dominated industry is not an easy task. There’s a lot of pressure from different angles of life, but still for  the talent we have it keeps us strong and encourages us.

Q

: What are your future plans as a guitarist and as a member of Krazy Colours?

A

: My plan as a guitarist and a singer is to be the best female guitarist in Malawi, someone whom girls can look up to. I won’t give up until I achieve my dream just like I did when I first saw Tracy Chapman. I know many girls will be encouraged and say “if she can do it then I can also do it.”

When girls in Malawi look at Krazy Colours Band they should believe in themselves. Our plans and mission as Krazy Colours is to reach out to those girls, and make them believe that all things are possible that they too can make it.

There is nothing impossible if they put their trust and faith in what they do and do it with passion. Krazy Colours is still in the process of recording a full album but our plans are slow due to finances.

As an individual, I’m working on recording an album as a solo artist.

As I already mentioned, I want to teach girls how to play the guitar for free.  I am gathering resources that will help me to make my work easier. I am also looking for well-wishers to kindly help with whatever they can provide with. I would like to change the mindset of a lot of people who think music is not for females.

There is a notion that females in music are there to dance and do vocals, but no, we can do anything. If parents accept this that means even children growing up now will know that music instruments can be played by everyone.

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