What began as a dream for a young boy in Chiradzulu has now become a reality for Malawi’s 86 year old folk musician Giddes Chalamanda. He is finally on his way to the United States of America on his quest to share Malawian music and showcase his talent to live audiences there.
Sharing a passion for placing authentic Malawian music on international platforms, for his lifelong contribution to music in Malawi, and as a way of appreciating the invaluable impact he has had on them as a band since they took him under their wing in 2005, the folk music duo Edgar ndi Davis rallied behind them a team of dynamic individuals both in Malawi and in the USA and roped in the young gospel Afro soul jazz sensation Patience Namadingo, to help turn the octogenarian’s dream of performing to live audiences in America into a reality.
The journey that culminated in his departure at Chileka Airport at 1pm on June 29th 2016 has been long and full of hurdles but despite not reaching the financial target that they had set out to reach to get Giddes and his entire band to America the team has persevered and remained determined to see the project through.
Most of them, including some that have not made the trip have tapped into their own personal resources to ensure that the trip happens.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, spokes person of the organizing team in Malawi, Emmanuel Maliro, said: “We are all pleased that this day has finally come. We would like to thank all the well wishers who made this possible.”
He added: “ Our gratitude also goes to the Malawi government through the Ministry of sports and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign affair as well as the Malawi Embassy in Washington DC for their support in facilitating the securing of visas. Without you all we would not be here today.”
Commenting further on the challenges the organizing team has faced thus far, Maliro said:“The public should be made aware that is not a moneymaking venture. The team has gone to the USA as part of a cultural exchange experience, to take part in Malawi’s 52nd independence celebrations alongside our counterparts in the US.
“We all committed to this project because we would like to see authentic Malawi music showcased on international platforms as well as help make Giddes Chalamanda’s dream a reality.”
Continued Maliro: “ Through the fundraising shows we had hoped to raise enough money to cover travel and upkeep costs for the entire team as well as the venue costs, transport and other related expenses for the shows in Washington DC and South Bend Indiana.
“ Through the generosity of well wishers, we raised enough money to cover only the cost of air tickets for Giddes and part of his band. “
Maliro said the organisers are also grateful to businessman Mike chilewe for buying the air ticket to Giddes and another business tycoon Mike Mlombwa for donation of K1 million.
Among the musicians that have travelled are Edgar Kachere, Davis Njobvu, Patience Namadingo and Amos Mlowa who covered the costs of their own individual tickets.
Also travelling with the group is Namadingo’s manager Tonderai Jai Banda and Kheliwe Murimu of O’Nthambi Events who is part of the organizing team and has been an instrumental player in the fundraising efforts as well as the preparations for the trip who have also both paid for their own tickets.
Maliro added that their counterparts in the USA, Malawi Community USA (MACOUSA) and Malawi Washington Association (MWA) and Friends of Giddes, through donations from their individual members, are very generously helping the team ease the burden of venue and event production costs in Washington DC, and MACOUSA and Flakers Entertainment are helping with the South Bend Indiana show.
“To avoid misconstruction, we would also like to make it clear that no individual has pocketed any money from the shows here in Malawi, and no individual will be making money from the shows in the US.
“The gate fees that have been put in place are only there to subsidize what our counterparts have already generously contributed which we would have covered had our fundraising efforts gone as we had hoped.”
Events in the USA will kick off on the 2nd of July with “The Pulse Of Malawi” which is a series of events spread over 2 days which include a panel discussion on topical issues affecting Malawians at home and in the Diaspora, a concert and dance headlined by Giddes Chalamanda, Edgar ndi Davis and Patience Namadingo supported by Maskal who is currently also in the US and Lost Our Sanity, a children’s band from the US.
The concert and dance will then be followed by a family picnic before the team makes their way to South Bend Indiana for a performance on the 9th of July.
Giddes Chalamanda accompanied by Edgar ndi Davis will also be performing at the Library of Congress in Washington DC on the 5th of July. He will be the second ever Malawian musician to be offered an opportunity to perform and have their music archived by the US Library of Congress, the first being the late Danniel Kachamba.
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