South Africa’s Wired for Sound mobile studio has recorded over 200 songs from Malawi with the aim of compiling some of them into an album.
Presently, the songs are being mixed and mastered in South Africa before they are uploaded on iTunes and Amazon.com.
The solar-powered recording studio, established by South Africa’s music group Freshlyground, visited Karonga between August 23 and September 4 for recording sessions which were done in collaboration with Radio Dinosaur FM of Karonga.
Karonga’s cultural radio station acting director Alex Mhango said in an interview that the recording sessions attracted more than 30 participants from Malawi and Tanzania.
Mhango said the participants came from all corners of the arts industry, including poets, gospel, secular and traditional musicians.
He said the activity also unveiled some hidden talents who have been recommended to the Lake of Stars Project to perform at its festival in Mangochi later this month.
“The activity attracted musicians as far as Mangochi and Machinga, although most of them were from Karonga. But we also had some from Tanzania.
“Notably, an up-and-coming traditional musician Anoch has been recommended to the Lake of Stars (LoS) for a performance at their festival. Anoch has developed a village type of drum and guitar. Freshlyground wants to expose such originality,” said Mhango.
Wired for Sound is a mobile roaming recording studio working with musicians and community radio stations throughout Southern Africa to produce an album, radio content, photo essays and video documentaries.
It was established as a non-governmental organisation in South Africa by Freshlyground founding member Simon Attwell and radio producer Kim Winter, in collaboration with Freshlyground guitarist Julio Sigauque.
With funding from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), the project uses revenue generated by sales of the songs to support the partner radio stations and musicians in establishing solar powered recording set ups.
Mhango said working with Freshlyground has been beneficial to them technically and materially.
“It was the first time for an international organisation to record music here in Karonga, and people were very happy. To us, it was a training ground. We learnt how to set up a music recording studio.
“Above all, they left behind recording equipment such as a laptop, a digital to analogue equipment, high quality speakers, microphone and standard headphone distributors. This means we can begin to record musicians around Karonga,” he said.