Music Development Centre (MMC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based at Henry Henderson Institute (HHI) in Blantyre, has organised an acoustic guitar making training next month as a way of promoting Malawi music and uplifting the economic status of artists.
The scarcity of music instruments is an on-going problem in the Malawian music industry, with even the most basic of music equipment, the acoustic guitar, being way beyond the reach of most artists.
MDC’s Johan Vanhoutte said the guitar-making training will help ease the plight of local artists who cannot afford an acoustic guitar.
“The training has a double impact; firstly, it will help to promote the production of locally-made music instruments that will improve the quality of music through access to affordable guitars. Secondly, it will create employment to some participants that will be engaged in acoustic guitar-making business to make their ends meet,” he said.
According to Vanhoutte, a retired Belgian music tutor who has settled in Malawi, the training will be conducted by two Belgian master’s degree students in instrument making from the International Lutherie School Antwerp in Belgium.
“The training will take participants into the process of building an acoustic guitar box using wood to the level of putting strings,” said Vanhoutte, who added that Malawian musicians need hands-on skills in instruments to complement their singing talent.
Upcoming musician Steve Muliya admitted that most artists do not have training in equipment such as guitar because it is expensive.
“As much as one may want to own a particular music equipment for practical purposes, not everyone can afford a guitar or keyboard. This is the reason most artists simply join the music industry without any basic knowledge on instruments,” said Muliya.
Producer Elvis Ching’oma of Grace Works Studio in Chilobwe noted: “A professional acoustic guitar costs not less than K50 000, restraining most artists from acquiring one for training or performance purposes.”
On his part, Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) president the Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango said the workshop will help to sharpen the skills of the country’s musicians.