Arrived back in Malawi mid-September from the UK and hit the ground running!
The end of September saw Lake Of Stars Discovery come to life on the northern shore line of Lake Malawi. I packed up the car, picked up some lovely poets also performing from Blantyre, and journalist and friend Sam Banda at 4am and drove the 9 hours along the winding lake road. After dodging goats, chickens, cattle and people we finally made it up to Karchere Kastle, the beautiful venue for this year’s festival. And yep, it’s a full on castle right on the lake shore! I couldn’t think of a more beautiful setting to have a festival; white sand, clear blue skies and amazing sunshine. This is my 4th year of living in Malawi and I still fall in love with the place everyday.
On the Friday evening, Jacaranda School For Orphans took to the beach stage and performed an amazing 30 minute set with a mix of traditional dances and songs alongside hiphop dances and poetry. They performed brilliantly; I was so proud of them all!
On the Saturday morning I was invited by Art Glo to represent Music Against Malaria on a Health and Arts Panel on the Garden Stage. Art & Global Health Centre harnesses the power of the arts to nurture creative leadership, ignite bold conversations and actions whilst tackling issues in health. The panel was really interesting to be a part of; it was great to explore the ideas around how the arts can be so fundamental is destigmatising and educating communities on a wide range of topics. I really enjoyed speaking and it was a great platform to be able to talk about the work Music Against Malaria is undertaking.
This year’s festival felt like one huge meet up with so many artists I’ve met over the past 4 years! It was really great to catch up with people and I was also honored to meet a two new artist who I’ve been following since arriving in Malawi. The first one being Lazaurs. If you haven’t heard of him you need to check him out. Lazarus is a Musician and Albinism Activist, raising awareness and profile of Malawians living with Albinism. For those who are unsure, Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of pigment formed in the skin, hair and eyes. In Malawi people with Albinism live in fear as some believe their body parts can bring good luck and wealth resulting in many being attached and murdered. Beginning by building and playing his banjo on the street side, to now working with Madonna to produce a documentary film sharing his incredible story, Lazarus is fighting to support and stop these attacks through arts.
Check out more about Lazarus here and watch his amazing documentary: https://video.newyorker.com/watch/the-new-yorker-documentary-lazarus
Lazarus and I are already planning on a collaboration so watch this space!
It was such a pleasure to meet Lazarus at LOS and even more fun when he joined me on stage for my performance for some amazing dancing! I hit the garden stage on Saturday night and had one of the best shows I’ve ever played. You know when everything just alines; the audience was great, the sound was spot on and everyone was up for a good time. Jacaranda Cultural Troupe and Lazarus joined me on Osadandaula, it’s crazy to travel around Malawi and have some many Malawians know your song!
You can listen to my live set from LOS on Sound Cloud here: https://soundcloud.com/annemariequinn/annemarie-quinn-live-at-lake-of-stars-2019 Big thanks to Shadreck Kalakusha for the great recording.
The following Saturday saw Blantyre Arts Festival take over the city where I performed in a beautiful amphitheater at Blantyre Cultural Centre. I was super excited to have musicians Anthony Spriano on percussion and Manyozo Tcado on Electric guitar join me for the performance.
I then raced across the city to join the second new musician I’ve met this month; Faith Mussa, in his up close and personal concert at Villa 33. I heard so many great things about Faith Mussa since living here in Malawi but only had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time at Lake Of Stars this year. Faith is incredible, I totally fell in love with his music, his LOS performance was awesome, and the best thing? He's just the nicest guy. Faith kindly invited me to join him at his Blantyre concert to open the show. The setting was beautiful; stary night, outdoor stage with warm lighting and backed with pallets covered in chitenje, creating such an intimate show. If you haven’t listened to Faith’s music, you seriously need to. Check out his albums on iTunes and make sure to listen to ‘Kwanu Nkwanu’ - my favourite song!
It’s funny, even after spending quite a while in Malawi now, I’m still meeting amazing musicians. This is why I’m so glad I’m really taking time with my album. I could have blitzed it and had it done in the first year, but I would have missed out on making so many other collaborations with people I’m still only just meeting now! I’m really getting the recordings moving now, I can’t wait for them to be heard!