If I had much money, I would go to America,” sung the country’s acoustic icon Giddes Chalamanda in Buffalo Soldier.
Actually, visiting the United States of America (USA) for a performance had been the artist’s childhood dream. He shared it artistically through the song in which he confesses of hearing that streets in America are wide and made of stone when he was a young boy.
Now, his dream is gradually coming to reality as the 86 year-old legend is scheduled to perform in USA this July.
The trip, dubbed ‘Giddes Coming to America Tour’, is aimed at creating a fairy tale for the octogenarian to realise his boyhood ambition by, not only seeing America, but performing there as well.
“Giddes Chalamanda, who has been performing for over 50 years and has performed twice in Europe, is one of Malawi’s surviving veterans who is still active on stage. We have organised the shows to honour Giddes who is a true icon and a legend in Malawi.
“In one of his songs, Buffalo Soldier he sung about a dream to go to America; hence, we want to make his dream come true. At the same time, we are aiming to promote Malawian culture and art and boost tourism through the positive images and pictures which we are hoping to create in the USA through this tour,” said the trip’s public relations manager, Emmanuel Maliro.
He explained that Chalamanda’s trip has been spearheaded by a group of diverse Malawians who value the need for the country to export local music.
The chairperson of the group is marketer Wilkins Mijiga while the patron is Blantyre City mayor Noel Chalamanda.
“The old school music maestro will be joined on this epic tour by acoustic kings; Edgar ndi Davis, alongside fast rising gospel artist Patience Namadingo who will all travel with a band, which altogether puts the number of artists at 12 as well as 8 accompanying individuals who are going to pay their airfares on their own. Giddes will have three shows in the US, two in Washington and one in Indiana,” stated Maliro.
They are so far in need of support from the corporate world to see that the artist who will also conduct workshops on Malawi’s performance culture dubbed Malawi Nights as well as interacting with Malawians living there, lives his dream.
“The total cost of this tour for a 12-member band for two weeks is $32 000 which includes about $20 000 for air fares. Giddes is also scheduled to host a traditional 6th July discussion Forum which an Association of Malawians living in the US conducts annually, where among others, they will reflect on how Malawian music has been, the history, the challenges just to mention a few.
“We need financial support in terms logistics for facilitating the shows US and travel tickets for the crew to travel. In the event that we do not get the corporate and other support, that will obviously affect the number of people going. However, whatever the case, Giddes will go to America,” he said.
The organising crew will launch the tour in Blantyre on Friday before taking it to Lilongwe the following day.
“Venues of the gigs will be announced soon. At these shows Malawians will have a chance to interact up-close with the legend. And since this is about Malawi, we are happy to announce that any designer who is willing to come on board and design outfits for the tour group, especially Giddes, is welcome. It’s now, for Malawi, for Giddes and for the US,” said Maliro.