Malawian artist Muhanya Pachanya who was invited to Toulouse in France by Association Bongo and Round Flat Records, says he has soared in his performance that he is now scheduled to tour Europe with his Afro-Street music.
Association Bongo and Round Flat Records invites artists to France every year to interact and collaborated with other international artists to produce music that has traditional and cultural aspects from the guest’s country.
“I was given an opportunity to be myself and to put in more tunes and teach the outside world about Malawi, its culture, tradition and the street life,” said Muhanya in an interview with On the Arts.
He explained that the organisers always want to hear the voice of an artist.
“Otherwise, they would have chosen to listen to the voice of a minister or any other high-ranking person,” he said. “But they wanted to hear the voice of a guy who has lived in the ghetto.”
Muhanya explained that when Association Bongo and Round Flat Records invites artists from Africa. They give them space and studio time to just record and also offer them an opportunity to interact and collaborate with different artists from across the world.
“I was working with artists from Italy, French musicians, Irish musicians as well as some of the world’s best instrument players from Scotland,” he said.
Last year, he said, the association also hosted an artist from Senegal.
“For a long time they had wanted to host a Malawian artist and thanks to God I am the first one who got this chance through the work that I do,” said Muhanya.
Besides being a musician, Muhanya says he is also a filmmaker who has made documentaries about empowering women and that this was the kind of an artist of diverse talents they were looking for.
“Because my performance emitted such positive energy, I now have more opportunities to tour Europe, starting with Germany,” he said.
While in France last October, Muhanya also performed at several concerts.
He said his opportunity to record new music with international artists has culminated into what will become his third and latest album now almost complete.
The album, which has been produced by different international producers and not just from France, includes some producers from Germany and Ukraine.
“I feel it’s an honour for me to represent my country in this way,” he said.
Muhanya’s first album showed the kind of artistic path that he wanted to take. Named Nthano Zathu the album has songs such as Magombo, Kachitsa and Kalilima which he acknowledged are adopted African songs from Malawian folk stories.
“It was just the art of rearranging the stories and putting them in a one run where all those feelings were expressed to give the picture through the sounds of guitars and voice influenced by our folktales,” he says.
Muhanya’s second album was a sound track he did for a film called Bella which has been screened in different festivals across the world.
When asked about the title of his forthcoming album, Muhanya said as of now, he is keeping the project under wraps.
“I will not disclose the name of the album,” he insisted. He, however, said he believes that those people that have been following his musical steps can guess the title for the album.
“Very soon people will know,” said Muhanya, but he still described his third album as different because it is not like his first which is just about stories or his second that was based on a film.
“Now we are talking about real life on the street,” he said.
Muhanya also said it is safe to call the genre in the album as roots music.
“I believe in the vibrations that are within me which have been influenced by Gulewamkulu, Chimtali and all that,” he said.
“These have been fused with my roots, but since I also grew up listening to reggae music, the music in the album has free style vibrations some people call it Afro street music, some people call it traditional music, some people call it pop music, but this is just Muhanya Pachanya music,” he explained.
Since Muhanya is a Tumbuka word for the sun, he says he “is an artistic sunlight, the sunshine, energy, the light of the world, the sun”.
“Muhanya Pachanya is the voice that all started through my mother nation; that’s how it passed through the melodies, the harmonies that I heard my mother nation sing to me. It all started there, that was the son in the ghetto now,” says a philosophical Muhanya.