BBC-based Malawi broadcaster Chakuchanya Harawa says Malawian musicians need to create music that is aesthetically different if they are to make a mark on the international market.
Chaku, a former MBC presenter who traded under the moniker ‘Mr C’, notes that while Malawian music has made great strides, there are still areas that need to be worked on if it has to make commercial sense.
“Malawian music has always been well received by other nationals. But if we want to export our music, we must ask ourselves how different is our reggae, hip-pop, jazz, Afro-pop or whatever else to what is already on the market?
“What elements of our culture or traditional music can we incorporate into already-established genres to create a distinct, forceful sound? What elements can we borrow from other genres or cultures? Whatever we do, the music has to be gripping, persuasive,” he noted.
Over the last two decades, only a handful of Malawian musicians have made it to the international music market with Wambali Mkandawire’s Zani Muone being the landmark album which was launched in the duration of a record deal he signed with South Africa’s Sheer Sounds Records.
Aside that, Esau Mwamwaya, who is one half of the world acclaimed Afro-funk group The Very Best, has toured the world, filling auditoriums and festival arenas in Europe and the USA.
The Very Best’s latest album MTMTMK has also received worldwide acclaim.
However, Chaku remains hopeful for the future, having noted that there have been notable strides in production.
“Malawi music has made great strides in recent years. Advances in technology mean now there are more recording studios. The quality of the music has improved and new talent has emerged to complement those who’ve been around for a long time. There’s now a variety of real talent doing various genres,” he remarked.