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Peter Mawanga & the Amaravi Movement - Rain Song - Greensburg, PA 07-01-16
Peter Mawanga & the Amaravi Movement - - Greensburg, PA 07-01-16
Peter Mawanga | Lake of Stars 2014
Malawian band bringing Afro-Vibes from Lake of Stars to Celtic Connections
"We noticed the warmth of the place, the warmth of the people right away. The weather might be cold here, but the people are warm."
Sure enough, when Malawian musician Peter Mawanga and his band, the Amaravi Movement, arrived in Glasgow on the eve of their first Celtic Connections performance, the city welcomed them with the season’s best wet and wintry chill, a far cry from the sun-kissed beaches of Lake Malawi.
“It’s almost like being back in Blantyre, everyone has been so friendly."
Of course, the Blantyre they refer to is not South Lanarkshire’s finest, but the largest city in Malawi, named in celebration of the Scottish birthplace of Victorian explorer Dr David Livingstone.
“We knew all about Glasgow from about the age of eight, from our history classes where we learned about the great Doctor Livingstone. It’s so exciting to be here and we are so honoured to be part of this festival."
The band will be taking to the stage at the Concert Hall this evening alongside Nicola Benedetti to set the tempo for this year’s Celtic Connections festival in the opening gala concert.
Peter Mawanga back from BBC Africa
Renowned acoustic hit maker Peter Mawanga is back from South Africa where he went to film an interview and performance of some of his songs to feature on BBC Beats.
The artist, who calls his style of music Afrovibes, a fusion of modern African music with traditional Malawian instruments, described the trip as fantastic and that it accorded him a new experience.
"We performed 'Tsoka,' in the studio while the BBC crew filmed and recorded the audio during our performance. It was a five hour long process, it was quite a challenge but it was worth it. I am looking forward to Malawians watching this project and I just want to thank God for the talent," said the singer.
He said the BBC used their own criteria to select the musicians to be featured on this program.
"They were looking to promote musicians that have music that has not been fully promoted internationally. They were looking to feature music that represents the country the artist is coming from and their program is always looking for new styles of music from countries in Africa," said Mawanga.
He revealed that he was picked after the producers had done some research on Malawi music.
"What I learnt in South Africa was that they wanted a female artist from Malawi, unfortunately most of the names that were brought forward play gospel music that either lacked substance or originality.
"Later they settled for male artist, my name and several other names were brought fourth, but then my name was chosen as it turned out that the others, their songs were in reggae or heavily westernised," he said.
He said BBC Beats Catherine Fellows felt it was a pity that the music that "we play is less appreciated in our country," observing that people in the UK love African music.
Mawanga also added that one of the BBC team members mentioned that he discovered that in Malawi DJs waste time promoting Western artists and yet US and UK DJs spend most of their time promoting their own musicians.
The artist said international success begins with local radio stations and agencies promoting their own.
He called on Malawian musicians not to underestimate the value of exploring Malawian traditional music stressing that the world is too saturated with pop and rap and has not yet tested "our rich traditional dances like mganda, manganje tchopa, malipenga."
The 'Zanga Zo Zama,' star left for South Africa on November 20 for the project alongside, Mabvuto Million who plays mangolongondo and Faith Mussa who plays guitar. They returned home on Sunday.
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