This week’s Afropop program focuses on Malawi, a country currently reeling from the wrath of tropical cyclone Freddy. Malawi has been scarce on the international music scene. The band called The Very Best, featuring Esau Mwamwaya, has been a welcome exception, most recently collaborating on Baaba Maal’s 2023 album, Being. The archival recordings featured on our program Saving the Malawi Tapes offers a window into the country’s rich musical past, and our 2021 podcast The Rise of Hip-Hop in Malawi fills in more recent developments in youth music.
This year, we’re hearing from a new Malawian talent with a more organic sound. Keturah, now 27 years-old, came to the attention of the Jacaranda Foundation, a Malawian school for AIDS orphans and its cultural center, and she was instantly recognized as a unique talent. Fast forward to July, 2022, when Keturah found herself outside Malawi for the first time in her life, in California, working with members of the global music collective Playing for Change led by Mark Johnson.
The result is a 10-song, self-titled album due out in May, 2022. We’ve heard the album and it’s a gem, mixing folklore, guitar-based East African pop and more. We’ll have a review of the album when it appears, and hopefully, an interview with the artist.
The first single, “Kwanumkwanu,” drops today, and here’s a video of the Playing for Change Band accompanying Keturah on the song in Mark Johnson’s house!
Also, here’s a video for the song “Achisale.” We expect you’ll see why we think this young lady has a bright future.