That music is an international language which knows no cultural or personal boundaries was manifested on Sunday during a concert by Germany’s Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra (Ameo), Karonga-based Lusubilo Band and Ulimba musicians from Nsanje.
The three groups combined traditional musical components from Nsanje, Karonga and Germany to come up with unified music which they dished out together in Karonga on Saturday and in Mzuzu on Sunday.
They used traditional instruments such as ulimba, flutes, drums, visekese, empty bottles and stones which they blended well with imported clarinets, saxophones, violins, electric guitars, drums, synthesisers and keyboards, among others.
Even without a voice, which was the case for the better part of the performance at Grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu, the musicians of Sena, Tumbuka, Ngonde and Western backgrounds communicated in one language: musical notes.
And that proved to be the only language to communicate to the audience which comprised those from Asian, Western and Malawian backgrounds and which applauded every composition at the end.
Traditional dances such as malipenga, mwinoghe and ndingala, which were fused into the performance, added flavour to the two-hour performance.
The show was part of a tour dubbed What Boundaries? through which the three groups want to blend Malawi’s traditional music with international jazz, current electronic music as well as elements of contemporary European music.
The tour has been designed as a three-week workshop in Karonga’s Music Centre of Lusubilo where composers from Ameo and Lusubilo Band are creating new and exclusive pieces for performances.
After the performance in Mzuzu, the groups will present the collaborative compositions—a combination of music, dance and spoken word poetry—at Robin’s Park in Blantyre on Saturday and Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Sunday.
Later in October, Ameo will hold joint performances with Lusubilo Band and the Ulimba musicians in Germany.
The tours are a collaborative project supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and marks the first cooperation of its kind between Malawi and Germany.
The Berlin-based orchestra’s founder, director, saxophonist and main composer Daniel Glatzel said the performance achieved its goal of breaking boundaries using music.
“Despite differences in culture and thinking, in a way, we have succeeded in breaking personal and cultural boundaries. But there is more that we need to do if we are to be better,” he said.
Project coordinator Charles Sinetre said audiences in Blantyre and Lilongwe should expect a better showing as the groups will perfect glitches observed during their first performances.