Arts associations in Malawi are flirting with veteran diva Maria Chidzanja-Nkhoma to headline Copyright Association of Malawiâ€™s Bwalo la Aluso Festival in November.
To be crowned with awards of distinction in various arts sectors, the maiden festival is a brainchild of the Royal Norwegian Embassyâ€™s Cultural Support Scheme being implemented by Cosoma and 10 right-holder groups.
On Friday, festival chairperson Andrew Chisamba told the press in Malawiâ€™s commercial city, Blantyre, the former MBC Band songbird, who has maintained low profile since her heyday in the 1980s, will use the same stage as current hit artists Fikisa of Akamwire fame, eccentric Joe Gwaladi, Nyemba Nyemba foodies Simon and Kendal, afro-jazz muso Agorosso and the reggae kings, Black Missionaries.
The festival is envisioned to be a calendar event and Chisamba trumpeted the maiden edition as â€œconsolidating artistic diversityâ€. True to the theme, the showcase will feature exhibitions from a variety of originsâ€”poetry, filmmaking, traditional dances, visual arts, photographers, book publishing, writing, journalism, music, dance and theatre.Â Â
â€œFrom November 25, art associations will open taps of entertainment to give Malawians a blend of various fine and performing artsâ€™ exhibitions. Bwalo la Aluso is a meeting place of various arts disciplines, a unique opportunity for the public to sample arts from the source. It is organised by artists and for the betterment of the art industry,â€ said Chisamba.
The announcement comes hard on the heels of Blantyre Arts Festival, Sand Music Festival, Moon-Rock and Summertime Gala which happened in the past three weeks.
Fascinatingly, the organisers have backtracked on their plans to bring Nigerian actors to headline the festival, something which threatened to eclipse locals at their own stronghold.
According to Bwalo la Aluso publicist Francis Tayanjah Phiri of Photographers Association of Malawi, the Nollywood arrivals were mentioned in the cooking, but the organising committee is â€œseriously reconsidering the decisionâ€ and will ensure all the prominence at the celebration of Malawian arts is placed on locals.
The week-long event, slated for the Presidentâ€™s Hotel in Lilongwe, is budgeted at K16 million, but organisers say they only have K11.5 million in their coffers. They appealed for support from the private firms to offset the deficit.
One of the organisers, Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam) chairperson Alfred Msadala, said artists will march from Mchesi to the venue at City Centre to sensitise the public to the evils of piracy. Other activities include workshop to nourish artists and mentor them to embrace art as business.