Released: 24/06/22 (delayed from 17/06/22)
With a tour schedule to make even the most hard working of musicians blush, Madalitso Band have taken their exuberant, Malawian folk music from the streets of Lilongwe to thrilling audiences across Europe and are now are gearing up to release their third album Musakayike via the acclaimed Swiss imprint Bongo Joe.
Madalisto Band return this summer with a packed tour schedule and a brand new album Musakayike. Recorded in Malawi in November of last year, the duo, along with their “accidental manager” Neil Nayar, headed into the studio with a clearer idea of how to to capture that Madalisto Band sound without losing any of their groove and infectious energy. After all, this is music to make you clap, dance and
The Malawian duo’s setup comprises a homemade one-string slide bass (Babatone), a cowskin foot drum thumped with the heel and a 4 string guitar. The guitar, played by Yosefe Kalekeni, holds close to the rhythm while lead singer Yobu Maligwa’s long-necked, babtone serves as both the bottom end and lead. When asked why they make their own instruments, they will simply reply “that’s how we get the sound we want.”
Live, these songs stretch out well over 10 minutes, designed to get and then keep the audience dancing, but on this new record they were fine tuned and trimmed back before heading into the studio. Album opener Ali Ndi Vuto zips out of the tracks, with Yobu Maligwa lamenting the fact that whether you're rich or poor, people will find fault with you. Title track Musakayike is as infectious as they come,
with a playful groove and the pair’s harmonizing vocals creating a sound that defies their stripped back set up.
Some 20 years ago, at the start of a now long friendship, the duo decided to build their own instruments to recreate the sounds they'd heard on the radio growing up. After years of playing on the streets of the nation's capital, the pair were discovered by a local producer while busking outside a shopping center in Lilongwe in 2009. However it still wasn’t until 2017 when they had their first performance outside Malawi, at Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar. Six months later and they were on an airplane for the first time in their lives, to do a 2 week European tour, with a stop at the prestigious Roskilde Festival following a few months later.
This summer will now be their fifth trip into Europe, taking in Spain and Italy for the first time as well as returning to the UK, Switzerland and France. Later in the year the duo will be heading to the US for the first time.
The success of these previous tours have meant the pair have been able to buy some land and construct their own homes. However they remain largely unknown throughout Malawi, only occasionally recognised from when they were playing on the streets of Lilongwe. Yobu Malinga is perhaps better known locally as a pastor, regularly receiving worshippers to his home. Yet with a new album, a relentless
tour schedule and now a documentary in the works, outside of Malawi their profile only continues to grow.