Acoustic musician Agorosso will on May 23 perform in Budapest, Hungary at the Africa Day commemoration, director for the Hungary Trade and Cultural Centre (HTCC) has said.
Speaking during the launch of the centre, Csaba Szeremley said the day will bring several African artists to the Hungarian capital to promote cultural cooperation.
“This signifies the growth of the ties between Malawi and Hungary as Malawian artists will have the chance to visit our country and some Hungarian artists will come here for performances,” said Szeremely.
According to him, visual artist Nixon Malamulo’s works will also be exhibited in Hungary.
Agorosso, real name Lloyd Phaundi, said he is happy for the opportunity.
“In such circumstances, you learn a lot, much as many others learn from you. I am glad to land this opportunity and I am set to let the Malawi music flag soar higher.”
The 35-year-old Agorosso is in a league of his own.
He is the first Malawian to earn African recognition for his musical exploits where movie soundtracks are concerned. He beat 671 soundtracks to win the Best Soundtrack accolade at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (Amaa) two years ago.
In view of his winning the soundtrack category, renowned Malawi musician Ben Mankhamba, who brushed shoulders with Agorosso since the artist won the acoustic category of the Kuche Kuche Music Awards at the turn of the millennium, said all the artist needs is a good studio, producer and his entry onto the international market is a done deal.
“He is a good musician, let down by the lack of the Malawian appreciation of good music. We have a problem in Malawi. Even if you look at football, you will find that our stars are looked down upon and they are not valued the way they should. That is the sad Malawi situation,” said Mankhamba.
The songs that earned him the award demonstrate his might as a musician. In The Last Fishing Boat, Shemu Joyah’s second film, Agorosso brings to life the actors in the movie.
In Abiti Anefa, a song in the movie which personifies the character worn by Flora Suya—the Joyah ace who was a leading act in the film maker’s Season’s of a Life—Agorosso brings to the heart of viewers the beauty in this lakeshore queen, who manages to win the heart of a European tourist, but ignores his romantic advances.
As if that is not enough, in the movie, Agorosso brings another song criticising Abiti Anefa for quitting school to become a second wife to a fisher, Che Yusufu.
The musician does not stop there.
He dishes another tune in the film to criticise Che Yusuf, a Makawa Village fisher in Mangochi, who marries Abiti Anefa, in spite of hard times that lead him into dire economic tides. The song, wonders why jealousy engulfs Che Yusuf.
You can’t ignore Agorosso, if you follow Malawi music. He was back in the movie. This time, it was Kunyanja, a song that brings out the hustles of the fishing business in Mangochi. It is the very crux of the film, for Che Yusuf owed everybody something: The government, who wanted fishing tax; Abiti Anefa, who owed him love; Che Yusuf, his son who needed respect and so much more.
Yet, the greatest of Agorosso’s compositions in the film grows from his roots in Nsanje. That is Sayambo Madoda.
As you watch the movie, and when the song is playing, you see the fisher pulling the nets on the beach, getting their catch onto baskets on the shores of the lake.
Agorosso says the inspiration for the song is from the banks of the Shire River where fishers ply their trade.
“It is a fishing song. It is part of my Sena culture. For all the songs in the film, I pay respect to Mr Joyah because he is the one who perfected everything. He fine-tuned my songs,” says Agorosso.
But, how did his journey begin? Where does he root his music?
Obviously, if you listen to his music, it will strike you to the spine. It is linked to the Nsanje jive. Agorosso says apart from Bob Marley, his greatest musical influence is from Nsanje.
“I come from Bangula. I grew up in Bangwe, Blantyre. At my home I was in the church choir just like I was in Bangwe. My interest in music grew when I was in Nsanje and I had a guitar, which I used to play in the bush,” says Agorosso, who is currently not married.
He grew up in Bangwe, but trekked close to his home in Nsanje, at Nsanje Secondary School where he was lead vocalist in the Scom school choir. But all this time, he used to shun the guitar.
That three stringed guitar led him to play music, which he says is an emotional way to bring out what he sees in society.
This is the very essence of his being a musician. To play songs that put his heart, mind and soul at peace.