A band made up of inmates from one of Malawi’s most congested prisons in Zomba which secured the country’s first Grammy nomination will not be at the Grammy Awards because the prisoners’ legal cases make international travel impossible, according to American music producer Ian Brennan.
The 2016 Grammys take place in Los Angeles, in United States on 15 February.
Brennan, who worked with convicts in the Zomba Prison Band, producing the album “I have no everything here” said the group will not be part of the audience when the results are announced at America’s biggest music awards, shortlisted for Best World Music Album
The Zomba prisoners band will compete at the star-studded eventa gainst Anoushka Shankar’s Home, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Music From Inala, Angelique Kidjo’s Sings and Gilberto Gil’s Gilbertos Samba Ao Vivo.
The band, many of whom are serving life sentences for murder wrote and recorded an album, I Have No Everything Here, in 2013 before releasing it last January, with songs including the deeply personal likes of “Don’t Hate Me”, “Prison of Sinners”, “I See the Whole World Dying of AIDS” and “Please, Don’t Kill My Child”.
Brennan who visited the band members in Zomba last week aid he is encouraged with “beautiful” press coverage for the band though he pointed out that has not necessarily resulted in more sales for the Zomba Prison Project music.
“International recordings that are not in English or Spanish sell very little, but hopefully a win could generate some additional sales,” he said.
“People around the globe have been very moved and captivated by Malawi and the prisoners’ story—BBC, Rolling Stone, Associated Press, Business Insider, The Guardian and New York Daily News, among others,” he said.
The Zomba Prison Project Music are the first Malawian musicians to be nominated at the prestigious Grammys.