A Malawian musician living in the United Kingdom (UK), Street Rat, has been listed to share a stage with the best new musicians in Scotland at the Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover Festival on October 17.
Street Rat aka David Luhanga said in an interview from his base that his inclusion in the festival marks as the beginning of his solo international music career after parting with Malawi’s Body, Mind and Soul last year.
Announcing the line-up on its website, Oxjam said Luhanga will share the stage with Scotland’s best new musicians The Valkarys, Foreignfox, The Poor Things Supa and Da Kryptonites, Sea Bass Kid, Lionel, Moonlight Zoo, Birdhead, The Claramassa, The Tinderbox Orchestra, Urvanovic, Mellow Chants and Monticule.
“The Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover Festival takes place in the Old Town of Edinburgh on the Saturday October 17 2015 across multiple venues showcasing some of the best new music Scotland has to offer,” states the website.
Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover is part of Oxfam’s month-long music festival Oxjam. Oxjam began in 2006, with the aim of creating a network of music-loving people across the UK, all united by a shared goal—to raise money to fight poverty and suffering around the world.
“Nine years on Oxjam is going strong, with hundreds of incredible gigs taking place every October.
“Over the years Oxjam has gained several high profile celebrity supporters, including Jarvis Cocker, Fatboy Slim, Damon Albarn, Hot Chipand and many more.
“But at its heart Oxjam is still a grassroots festival, with thousands of volunteers celebrating music in their local communities by organising their own multi-venue music festivals all in support of Oxfam,” it states.
The Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover team are all volunteers who have fundraised the money required to deliver the festival. The festival this year targets to raise a minimum of £3 000 to support Oxfam on their fight against poverty and suffering across the globe.
In an interview, Luhanga who is under UK’s Spare Dog Records label said his performance will open doors for Malawian artists because people abroad will dig deep into Malawi’s music scene.
His performance at the festival follows a release of his first international album Born in the Ghetto.
Luhanga is a well known and respected artist in Malawi, who has made his name as front man and band leader of bands like Souls of the Ghetto and Body Mind and Soul. A veteran to the Malawi music scene, in Europe he is still a newcomer who will have to prove his worth and talent once again.
Street Rat is an energetic live artist, who has performed a number of times at major music festivals such as the Lake of Stars festival, and who made a European tour in 2008.
Although his music spans many genres and styles from heavy reggae to what he calls ‘Voodjaz’—traditional Malawian rhythms with a jazzy feel—Born in the Ghetto is a dedicated reggae record.
Born in Mzuzu, Street Rat recently moved to Edinburgh, UK, with his British wife and daughter, and is starting to reinvent his career on another continent. He is putting a band together and is beginning to tap into the networks of musicians and industry in this new place.
However, he is not distraught by his decision to leave Body, Mind and Soul for his family.
“It was a hard decision to choose between family and band. It took me years to decide, but at last the family won. I didn’t want my daughter to grow without knowing her own father.
“I don’t regret, but I miss them, because I gave them something very hard to make which is the name Body, Mind and Soul. I also taught them how to run band business.
“More important, I am still Body, Mind and Soul. This is to keep me going while I am away, when opportunities arise to join them, or them to join [me], will do so,” he said.
Back home, Body, Mind and Soul has moved on, if a performance at the Lake of Stars recently is anything to go by.
The band put up an energetic and soulful performance, thanks to Goma Nyondo on lead vocalists as guest artist. n