Malawi has a rich cultural heritage, yet its contemporary art and music scene has largely fallen under the radar in the rest of the world. After visiting the country in 1998, Will Jameson wished to address this issue, by establishing an event with three main pillars: Arts, Travel and Development. Jameson’s Lake of Stars Festival hopes to nurture and promote Malawi creatives; encourage tourism to the area, and thus support the country’s developing economy. Inspired by festivals such as WOMAD, the lineup each year brings musicians from across the globe to the shores of Lake Malawi; headliners have included Basement Jaxx, Andy Cato of Groove Armada, the Maccabees and Scratch Perverts; and from Malawi, Lucius Banda, Tay Grin and The Black Missionaries. What started as an event with around 700 attendees has since grown to receive audiences of close to 4000, travelling from over 30 countries to see the diverse lineup that each year offers.
In 2012, the Lake of Stars Project took a hiatus from the festival in order to support local initiatives. This year, the three-day city-based festival and arts conference, will feature a programme of live music, film, theatre, literature, exhibitions and speakers, simultaneously promoting Malawian artists as well as other international artists and attracting other Malawian arts practitioners. It will take place in Mangochi, Malawi.The headliners who have been announced include:
Scottish trio Young Fathers is this year’s Lake Of Stars headline. After winning the Mercury Prize in 2014 and playing on some of the world’s greatest festival stages, the trio will end their summer tour around the world at Lake of Stars this September.
One of the biggest name in today’s South African music scene will also join the list of headliners. Singer Toya Delazi had already expressed her excitment: ‘I can’t wait to be playing Lake of Stars Festival for my debut performance in Malawi’. Her jazzy voice will electrify the Lake Of Stars stage.
Nigerian Afro Pop artist Ric Hassani’s passion for music has been part of his life from a very young age and drove him to the top. He will be performing at the festival for the first time this year.
Recognised by The Guardian as ‘Africa’s most internationally successful young band’, Zimbabwean Afrofusion act Mokoomba will also be joining the party.
Along with being a painter, graphic artist and designer, Sally Nyundo is one of Malawi’s leading reggae artists. A musician who plays guitar, drums and keyboard, he creates timeless and vibrant music.
By Rebecca Jagoe
Lake of Stars festival takes place at the Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi, Malawi on 25, 26 and 27 September. The festival features Young Fathers, Toya Delazi, Ric Hassani, Mokoomba and many more acts from Malawi and beyond. For more details and to book tickets click here or visit http://lakeofstars.org/
By Joe Hartley