Malawi premiere of Lazarus Chigwandali documentary: From New York now it’s Lilongwe’s turn

After a successful premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City,  the documentary of Malawian musician, Lazarus Chigwandali, a person with albinism, will be screened in Lilongwe on 14 June at Orchid Restaurant in Area 12.

Chigwandali at the Tribeca film festival, New York: Madonna called him ‘a powerful voice of a new generation’ –
Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Lazarus takes documentary premiere to Lilongwe

With an entry fee of K5, 000, all the proceeds will go to  Lazarus Project which seeks to provide safe housing for the artist and his family, according to one of the organisers, Adam Gaskins.

Among others, the premiere will be spiced up with a cocktail and performances by Blasto, Ishan and Kuyenda Band.

The Lazarus film documents real risks that people with albinism in Malawi live with each day as kidnappings and murders take place because of the unfounded belief in their power.

The documentary further depicts the life of Lazarus, an artist who is bravely bringing his voice and his story to an international audience.

Lazarus has so far been endorsed by America pop superstar Madonna as an emerging musician from Malawi who is leading the way towards social change for people with albinism in Africa.

The pop icon, who is also the Executive Producer of Lazarus documentary, described the Malawian artist as “A powerful voice of a new generation in Malawi”.

The documentary is Directed and Produced by Oscar nominated, Emmy winning filmmakers David Darg and Bryn Mooser while Madonna is an Executive Producer on the film.

Lazarus who was also recently featured on BBC, is quickly becoming a leader in the movement towards change for people with albinism, with his team garnering support from the United Nations, Amnesty International, Oxfam, the US Ambassador in Malawi, and people in the music and film industry who rally behind Lazarus to stop the killings of people with albinism.

His  debut album, ‘Stomp on the Devil’ is scheduled to be released in September 2019.

When UK music producer Johan Hugo posted footage of the song to his Instagram account, he wrote: “A few golden times in life something blows you away in such an amazing way you just cry and laugh and shake your head. One of the coolest and most emotional moments of my life.”

Hugo is known for his production work with artists such as Mumford & Sons and Self Esteem, and also as part of the Very Best, his collaboration with the Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya. He first came across Chigwandali a couple of years ago when a friend played him a short phone video of the singer that had been shot by a tourist. It showed an ad hoc interview with Chigwandali and a couple of songs he was busking on the street. Hugo was immediately struck by a sense of possibility.

“I really liked the music,” he says. “There was something punky about it and hard – it felt very different from a lot of traditional music I’d heard, particularly in Malawi. Lazarus has got a real pop sensibility and a songwriting approach that marries the old way of playing a homemade banjo and kick drum and makes it seem modern.”

The album’s first single “Ndife Alendo” is currently buzzing on both local and international radio stations.

Commenting on the song, Lazarus said, “Ndife Alendo” is a gospel song which advises people that they do not belong to this world but in heaven, saying human beings are visitors who are simply passing by.

“People with albinism are being brutally attacked, abducted and killed as if we are strangers. Therefore, my goal and purpose is to fight this vice,” Lazarus explained.

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