Posted Thursday, March 18, 2010 by Andrew Magill - in Malawi
Photo Credit Kaitlin Houlditch-Fair
If you had asked me a month ago what I would have been doing St. Paddy’s day or St Paddy’s Day week I probably would have replied “another typical day in Malawi” (i.e. either doing a narrative transcription or off in search of that next incredible story that just commands me to flip on the audio recorder). I wouldn’t have said “playing Irish music non-stop with a bunch of Irish musicians.” Well that’s exactly what the last week has been ever since this foursome from University of Limerick, Ireland showed up for the Irish Arts Council’s Malawi-Irish musical exchange. Orchestrated by Brona, chair of Malawi’s Irish Art’s Council, we have had some kind of musical performance or demonstration nearly every day. Last Friday (March 12th) there was a huge concert with 300 in attendance. The Irish musicians and myself played a few sets and then an incredible band from Malawi Mafilika
played a few sets. For the grand finale all ten of us did an epic jam of Irish dance tunes and Malawian traditional songs in tandem. The crowd went wild. The hi-light had to have been when a talented Irish step-dancer from Malawi’s Irish embassy got up to dance with this Malawian guy. They did Irish steps and Malawian steps together as we-the band surged behind them. From my vantage point all I could see was their backs. When they stomped the last downbeat of the tune I saw silhouettes of hundreds of ex-pats eclipse the back lights and wave their hands in raucous applause. It was exhilarating.
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