United States-based Malawian gospel artist Tiwonge Mhango says Zomba Prison Reform Band has the potential to excel in music if the band has innovative and sustainable plans and equipment to help it thrill.
Mhango made the sentiments on Sunday at Zomba Central Prison when he interacted with the inmate band during a ‘promotion of Malawian culture’ event organised by the Angaliba Foundation.
Mhango, together with the Angaliba Foundation, visited the band to congratulate and motivate them to play traditional music.
“The most exciting thing is that the band is not playing reggae, R’n’B or any other kind of Western music, but traditional music, an illustration that the country’s culture could go places if it is nurtured,” he said.
Mhango also pledged to support the band with musical equipment.
“People need to support their cause. Whatever they did is wrong, but on the music side, they need support. We have a God of second chances and they will change the community. After my visit, I was told that some of their tools are shorthanded. So, I am waiting for a list of their needs in terms of equipment and whatever they need I will buy for them once I get back to US. This is my contribution to them as a fellow musician,” he said.
Public relations officer (PRO) for the Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) Smart Maliro commended Mhango and the Angaliba Foundation for their gesture, saying apart from meeting the physical needs of the band, motivation is an asset the band members need.
Recorded in 2013, 16 inmates wrote and performed the songs for the album, I Have No Everything Here, produced by award winning UK producer Ian Brennan.
The 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony will be held next Monday in Los Angeles, California.