The Madalitso’s were discovered and saved from a life as night watchman and gardener by the media person and promoter Emanuel Kamwenje in the streets of Lilongwe in 2009. Where they toiled as a 2-musician street band creating a sound more like that of a musical army. Already very popular in the capital, the band was promptly recorded and went on the road and on to bigger and better things. Like participating in the Sauti Za Busara Festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar where they caught the ears and eyes of the producers for the BBC’s Global Beats program. Inciting a joyous frenzy and an astounding loss of control in the Brits who never knew they were capable of such outbursts of emotion.
What’s doing it to anybody else who gets to experience them live are their light and easy and instinctually natural vocal harmonies, supported and blended together with a demonstration of quite unusual native musicianship with the support of their virtuoso use of mainly homemade instruments. For instance, putting empty oil cans to a new and beneficial use and there’s also the indigenous Babatoni, a genius one-string bass instrument played on the lap with the sliding help of a soda can. Complemented by an adventurously put together four-string guitar from which they coax unbelievably intoxicating rhythms despite, or perhaps because, of its basic concept. All the while tapping a foot drum made from goatskin. Topping that with their hypnotic vocals that are going to make your heart sing and your limbs float away from you and remind you that you’re still only a mammal.
Sweet and funky Africa. Live tonight at El Lokal. (Internationally recognized and locally respected.)