In Malawi as in so many other countries, there’s a lack of female musicians. Last week the Daughters Band proved that there is truly no valid reason for this. The musicians in this band are focused, professional and devoted.
Six eager ladies gathered in the big rehearsal room at Music Crossroads Malawi in Lilongwe on the clear and warm morning of Mothers Day, Saturday the 15th of October 2016. They were given different instruments and started playing, practicing, taking lessons and having fun with music straight away. Rebecca, Ken, Harold (members/teachers at MCM), Karstein and I were there to provide tools to build their musical skills. Within the next six days we would create a scaffold for them to construct their own music and band in.
Is it possible to learn to play guitar in one week? Is it possible to have four-five songs ready to perform on a stage, when you’ve almost never touched a piano before? Would you know how to work together as a band after only playing together for seven days?
In Malawi Mothers Day is a public holiday where everyone takes the day off to celebrate their mothers with gifts or trips to the lake. But not these girls, they were on to a bigger project. A project that will inspire and empower mothers and daughters in weeks, months and years to come. Though the equipment at the rehearsal room were not cooperating, these girls showed patience and eagerness working with each other and the music. Despite long days and steaming heat outside, we stayed focused. Saturday they delivered a great showcase for Mr. Mfune, the director of Music Crossroads Malawi. He was truly impressed: “This is an amazing start. If we can achieve this in one week, anything is possible!”, he announced happily after the short concert.
As in almost any other country, there is a lack of female musicians in Malawi. Daughters Band is therefore part of a larger mission. They will be role models at Music Crossroads and in the Malawian music industry. Showing that female musicians, technicians and music teachers are just as good as their male counterparts. Last week’s workshop was partly inspired by LOUD! Jentenes Bandleir, JM Norways bandcamp for girls in Norway. The focus on women in music is important to strengthen women and girls in all parts of the society. We are happy that Daughters Band is part of a network of projects with this focus, with As Divaz in Mozambique and Ta Kagunda in Nkhotakota (see Lars’ blogpost and this article for more info on Ta Kagunda).
We had a great time working with these ladies and are amazed by how much they have developed. We hope to continue inspiring young female musicians, and bring more female participants to the Music Crossroads Academy, where there at the moment is an overweight of men both among the students and the professors.
From being girls with very varied backgrounds in terms of experience, knowledge and musical skills, they have proved that they are now one – the new and fabulous Daughters Band!