The Malawian prison band which was nominated in the Best World Music Album category at the Grammys Awards has received a major boost from MultiChoice Malawi who have donated two acoustic guitars to as they prepare to release their second album titled Umboni Ndilinawo.
The Zomba Prison Project were the first Malawian music outfit to be nominated for the Grammys for their album ‘I Have No Everything Here.’
Despite missing out on winning the award to eventual winner, iconic Benin singer Angelique Kidjo who dedicated her win to aspiring artists across Africa, the prison band has been celebrated for raising the profile of Malawi music.
Multichoice Malawi hosted the band at Blantyre’s Ryalls Hotel to a special dinner to recognise its achievements.
“As MultiChoice we thought of celebrating their Grammy nomination. Grammy Awards are big and this is why the international media has been following Zomba prison band to tell their story. The dinner was part of celebrating and also encouraging them,” said MultiChoice Malawi marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda .
“To us, this is not a mean achievement because it is the first time for a Malawian artist or band to be nominated for such a global music competition,” said Nyirenda.
Nyirenda said the nomination of the music grouping is a big lesson for Malawi as it exposes hidden talent which the world yearns.
“This is a lesson for Malawi to what type of music can put the country on the global map. We are not saying artists should begin to sing like Zomba Prison Project, but rather strive to come up with authentic sound that will shake the world in terms of creativity,” said Nyirenda.
Apart from the donation of the acoustic guitars, MultiChoice Malawi also presented a certificate of excellence to Zomba Prison Project and donated DStv equipment as well as free subscription to the band.
Among the musicians on the album was convicted murderer Elias Chimenya, burglar Stefano Nyerenda, and prison guard Inspector Thomas Binamo.
Binamo said they were honoured by the recognition.
Meanwhile, cting chief commissioner for Malawi prisons , Little Dimizulu Mtengano, has pledged that Malawi Prison Services (MPS) will continue to support Zomba Music Project, which was set up for reformatory purposes.
Mtengano has promoted music in Malawian jails for many years, and he said he was delighted that the prisoners had the chance to “compete against seasoned and talented musicians”.
He said a well-wisher had offered to donate an air ticket for one band member to attend the glittering awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Monday night, but that no prisoner had been allowed to travel.
US producer Ian Brennan spent two weeks at the Zomba maximum-security prison in 2013 working with inmates and guards to make the 20-track record.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :