Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Malawi Music Project

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Malawi Music Project was an absolute BLAST!  I had such an amazing time reconnecting with my musical roots and was even more thrilled to share that passion with talented youth from Malawi. 

A brief back ground of Malawi Music Project: It was started in 2008 by a few volunteers and each year since it has been taken on and developed by a new group of volunteers.  Unlike GLOW  this camp is unique to Malawi and is a partner with Music Crossroads in Lilongwe.  PC Volunteers work with professional musicians and teachers to lead sessions on: song writing, traditional music, drum circles, hip hop, music fusion and music theory to name a few.  The youth were broken into bands and given a week to use these lessons to write, produce, record, and perform an original song about HIV awareness.  To help with content of their songs and personal awareness we also held HIV sessions that taught about transmission, prevention, healthy living after contracting HIV and provided an opportunity for testing and counseling.
Just Jammin'
Drum Circle

The week ended with a celebration and a battle of the bands where six newly formed bands preformed their original songs for the local community!  It was quite the show!  The energy was electric and the bands shared not only their passion and talents but how HIV effects them on a personal level.  They learned that they can use their talents as a voice to empower others and to educate the community on important topics.
Male Condom Demo! 
We believe in equality! Female Condom Demo! 

All of this was amazing to witness and to be apart of but the thing that will stick with me the most was the creativity that was flowing all week!  In the United States most youth are given the opportunity to practice or learn the arts in school and to be with peers on a regular basis who have the same interest.

These youth came from all over Malawi.  All of them were musicians from vocalist to violinist, however, few of them had any training at all.  Most of them are self taught and are not used to playing with other musicians.  The schedule had a lot of free time built into it and from my past experience with camps I saw this as a potential nightmare.  I imagined youth leaving the premises, drinking alcohol, and general mischief.  The youth proved me absolutely wrong and used EVERY SPARE MOMENT to make music and just jam with each other.  I had never experienced something so organic in my life.  It was like something had awoken a completely new beast within these youth and the energy in the area was so vibrant.  There was not a quiet moment but there was never a need for a quiet moment.  The air was full of joy, music, and recently tapped potential.

I expect wonderful things for these spectacular youth and feel so privileged to be apart of this experience.


Soo Many Friends!! 
So proud of my band "Crazy Colors" who won 2nd Place at battle of the band!