What are you going to be doing on Good Friday, the beginning of a long Easter weekend?
Well, if you are a fan of music and culture, then buckle and brace yourself for a rare combo as Nkhotakota Music Festival returns on March 26.
Inspired by the Lake of Stars (LoS) festival, manager of Nkhotakota Cultural Centre, Sille Lukowski, together with the team in Nkhotakota Youth Organisation (NYO) supported by Music Crossroads Malawi, established Nkhotakota Music Festival for the first time in December 2014.
The festival is organised twice a year and the upcoming event is the forth in line.
“This is Nkhotakota’s biggest music and cultural and will take place at the district’s most vibrant place for culture, Nkhotakota Cultural Centre.
“The first leg of this year’s festival promises even more of the high quality entertainment that has seen the festival grow and become a highlight in entertainment in the Central Region of Malawi.
“The festival was born out of the cultural centre, part of Nkhotakota Youth Organisation, which is the only institution in the district that offers cultural activities and a music school for youth in the district,” said Lukowski.
The cultural centre is one of the departments in NYO, which targets youths and provides skills training in various fields including vocational skills, entrepreneurship, music, art and culture.
The overall goal is to empower young people to gain the confidence, skills and experience to easier access jobs or become self- employed.
The Music Festival on the other hand, is an important component of the various activities the Cultural Centre has on offer, according to Lukowski.
“Moreover, the festival gives an opportunity for the youth who receive training in music, art and dance to showcase their talent alongside more famous artists, so there is an element of sharing experiences and learning from each other,” she said.
The festival’s goal is to become an important and exciting player in the field of arts and culture as well as youth empowerment.
“As a youth organisation, we wish to uncover raw talent amongst the youth, connect with the local community, and expose inhabitants to new and different styles of music and art performed predominately by young musicians. We believe that the significance of the arts in education is often undermined, so the festival is also about celebrating and emphasizing the importance and potential impact of this field, and exploring the opportunities it may entail for young people.
“For example, it has been proven that learning about art and culture helps students to perform better at school. Hopefully, in future the festival will grow in popularity in tact with the quality of the event, and even perhaps become an income-generating activity for NYO,” she stated.
This year, performing at festival is Faith Mussa, Konkalazi, Neil and the New Vibration as well as the centre’s in-house band The Zebra.
“International flavour will come from rap and slam poet Menes la Plume and Norwegian folk music band with the Malawian name Chitenje Boys.
“In addition to a strong musical line up, festival patrons will also enjoy other entertainment as cultural dances by the centre’s own traditional Youth Dance Troupe, performing different dances stemming from several Malawian tribes, such as beni, khunju, chisamba, gwanyasa, masewe, kamchoma, ching’ande and kalumbwana,” she stated.
The festival is continuing with its ethos of being inclusive to all, regardless of economic status; hence, it is free for all.
Said Lukowski: “Target audience is all inhabitants of Nkhotakota, but we have also had audience from other parts of the country. In fact, our goal is to become a festival which will attract audience from across the country, free of charge.
“Interestingly enough, some of the artists that have performed at the previous festivals have also been further engaged in the work of the Cultural Centre doing workshops throughout the year.”