In the past two years, Winnie Msowoya has been the face of Lusubiro Band, a Karonga-based group famed for its music with a traditional touch. This year, the leading vocalist announced her departure from the group to pursue a solo career. She has since released her first single titled Pampene. Our Arts Editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Msowoya to discuss her career and move to go solo.
Can you to introduce yourself and how you found yourself as an artist.
My name is Winnie Msowoya from Karonga. I am a third born in a family of five [four girls and one boy]. I live with my mother only because my father is deceased. When I was six, I used to sing in a church choir and as I grew up, I found myself more into music than any other thing. Music runs in my family as my father and mother were both choir leaders at church and so are my sisters. I got more into music when I joined The Music Centre of Lusubiro and started singing in Lusubiro band.
How long have you been with Lusubiro Band and what was your role in the band?
I was with the band for two and a half years. And I was a leading as well as backing vocalist.
How did you come to lead Lusubiro Band and what impact did the band have on your career?
At first I was playing in a student band called Lusekero band when the teachers saw my performance, they decided to give me a role in the senior band [Lusubiro Band]. And because of Lusubiro Band I am able to perform live on different stages.
Lusubiro Band has travelled around the world a bit. Where has the band taken you?
I have been to South Korea twice [2018 and 2019]. Other than that, we had many performances here. I have performed with the band at Lake of Stars in Salima, shared the stage with Faith Mussa at Bingu International Convention Centre and other places.
Now how has been the transition to go solo? Why did you leave Lusubiro Band?
I left Lusubiro Band so that I can explore other opportunities. It happened at a time when I applied for an exchange programme at Music Crossroads Malawi. And I was chosen to go to Mozambique. I felt that I had learnt enough and it was time to go out there and implement what I had learnt and create my own identity.
Now that you are a solo artist. What are you up to? How is the experience as a solo female artist?
I want to raise the country’s flag by promoting our rich culture through music. I also want to make the world appreciate Malawian traditional music. This type of music is already a challenge in today’s market as people are used to listening to copied music from Nigeria, South Africa and the like. And being a woman is an added challenge but I want to prove to the world that a Malawian woman can live up to the challenge and that our traditional music has what it takes to make it to any level in the world.
Now tell me about the new music that you are producing. You have on Monday released a single. What is it all about?
The song is about the power of togetherness. If we come together we will be able to save our country and it will not be the same. Early marriages, abortions, corruption and other problems that we face can be dealt with if we come together as one.