Author Archives: padraicmacoireachtaigh

LOS 2015 FB Header 1

Malawi’s biggest arts event, the award-winning Lake of Stars Festival, is returning in 2015 and will take place in the stunning surroundings of Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi. The event was recently rated amongst the world’s most beautiful festivals by and has been described by Capital Radio Malawi as “an eclectic fusion of the arts on the sunny shores of the warm heart of Africa.”

The 2015 Lake of Stars festival will be held on the last weekend of September, 25th – 27th, and promises even more of the high quality entertainment that has seen it develop into a globally respected event. Spread across three days and three stages, the line-up will feature a wealth of talent from Malawi, Africa and beyond. Alongside the main festival at Nkopola Lodge, free outreach activities will also take place in neighbouring Chipoka Village for the local community.

For the first time, the festival will feature a Nigerian artist, Ric Hassani, whose huge hit Dance Dance Baby Dance can be heard blasting from every club, minibus and local radio across Malawi. Among the Malawian artists already confirmed to perform are hip-hop favourite, Gwamba; recipient of the recent Malawi Musician’s Union award for Best R&B Artist, Danny Kalima; and up-and-coming singer-songwriter George Kalukusha. International flavour will come from cutting-edge Scottish trio Young Fathers, winners of the prestigious 2014 Mercury Prize and 2014 Scottish Album of the Year Award, helping to further the cultural connections between Scotland and Malawi. Many more acts will be announced over the next few months.

Last year’s festival saw a number of local and international brands partnering with the event. This trend is set to continue in 2015 with support confirmed from the country’s national airline carrier, Malawian Airlines, as well as Multichoice, Continental Outdoors and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, all of whom were involved in 2014. A new partnership has also been established with solar energy social enterprise SunnyMoney, who will be working with Lake of Stars to illuminate parts of the festival using their solar lights. After the festival, these will be donated to the local community in Chipoka Village.

Lake of Stars Director Will Jameson said:

We’re excited to be launching this year’s Lake of Stars Festival with the backing of a number of our sponsors and partners from 2014, alongside new partners. To run the event to world-class standards is a huge undertaking, and one that wouldn’t be possible without their generous support. There are still opportunities to partner with Lake of Stars and reach our media audience of 600 million, so if any companies are interested please do get in touch.

Last year’s festival was our biggest and best to date, and this year we want to deliver an even better experience for all those who are involved. We are extremely grateful for the love and support that’s shown to Lake of Stars each year by the people of Malawi and we want to continue raising the bar for live events within the country.

A limited number of three-day tickets for this year’s festival went on sale on Friday March 6th at the Super Early Bird discounted price of MWK19,000 (about USD40). In Lilongwe, these tickets are still available from Papaya Café in the Game Complex, and in Blantyre from Café Ameca at CURE Hospital. MWK1,000 from each of this ticket type will be donated to support flood relief efforts in Mangochi. Further pre-sale tickets will be released for the festival at a later date, with plenty of opportunities to buy tickets at a discounted price before the full entrance fee applies.

Lake of Stars has grown from humble beginnings since its inception in 2003 at Chinteche Inn to become a high-profile, multi-arts event. Frequently recognised as a leading player in the African festivals market, Lake of Stars offers Malawian artists an unrivalled opportunity to showcase their talents on an international stage. According to Malawi’s The Nation newspaper, it is “bigger, better…boosting the economy through events tourism” and South Africa’s Mail & Guardian says: “Lake of Stars has become much more than a music festival, it is a celebration of artistic expression, and increasingly, a platform to launch young Malawian talent.”

In the months leading up to the festival, Lake of Stars will be holding more cultural events and activities across the country than ever before. Plans include a Mzuzu Sunset Sessions event in April, an international film festival in Lilongwe in May, a children’s festival in June and branching out into sports tourism through involvement with the Mount Mulanje Porters Race and Malawi’s Olympic Team in July.

For further information and announcements about Lake of Stars, visit, follow the festival on Twitter and connect on Facebook.


4 Stars for ‘Made In Malawi’

Neil and The New Vibration‘s debut album ‘Made In Malawi’ has garnered a 4-star review in the prestigious Songlines magazine.

“They have created a thoroughly charming fusion of country rock with some African pop elements. Nayar has a captivating voice. He also plays an acoustic guitar that blends seamlessly with the sparkling electric guitar of Blessings Nkhoma. The end result? Refreshing and unpretentious.”

You can purchase the album on iTunes here:


The Very Best’s video from Mangochi for new single ‘Hear Me’

Ahead of the release of their next album, The Very Best have shared the incredible video for their new single ‘Hear Me’. The time lapses were filmed around M’dala Chikowa Village in Mangochi where the album was written and recorded. The track features Vampire Weekend‘s Chris Baio on bass.

Johan Hugo says of shooting the video:

Between writing songs and recording we would climb the mountains above the lake and set the camera up to take time lapses. Any time we wanted a break we would bring the camera on a tripod to the shop or to someone’s small house and leave it taking time lapses. We would sit for hours in the dark while the camera clicked away, working on a song, tweaking melodies or words, mosquitoes everywhere. Sometimes we would leave the camera running and trek back to the house, hoping no one would find it.

Read more about the video and single on Pitchfork here.

Malawi Mouse Boys’ US tour featured in Washington Times


Following their sold-out tour in the United States, the Malawi Mouse Boys have been featured in The Washington Times.

“We have wanted to play in the United States since we were 12, and we thank God and we thank [Mr. Brennan our manager] for bringing us here. We can’t believe we are here, and even our parents can’t believe we are here,” said Joseph, one of the musicians. “Our music is not a joke and it is not just something for us to do. We have always played music. Sometimes we thank God for giving us this music that comes from within us.”

“People talk about good music and bad music. For me, even though all music is meaningful to someone, the ‘dividing line’ is truth music that is truly genuine and can generate emotion,” said Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan, the group’s manager. “The Malawi Mouse Boys grew up as almost brothers. Their bond is similar to that of the Jackson 5 or the Carter Family. That is what makes their music so genuine, so truthful.”

The Malawi Mouse Boys’ sophomore album Dirt Is Good, released this year, is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Malawi at Glasgow 2014

Mafilika and The Very Best

Mafilika and The Very Best

The biggest ever Malawian music event to happen in Scotland to date takes place as part of the cultural celebrations for the 20th Commonwealth Games. Lake of Stars will host a special free entry event at Glasgow Green on Saturday 26 July.

Malawian artists Tay Grin, The Very Best and Mafilika will join forces with Scottish musicians Stanley Odd and Algerian-British artist Yadi for an energetic evening of hip-hop, afro-indie and dance-pop, celebrating Glasgow and Scotland’s relationship with Malawi.

The free event takes place as part of the cultural celebrations for the 20th Commonwealth Games. Mafilika will also play a late-night show the night before, on Friday 25 July at the Old Fruitmarket.

“I am honoured and humbled to be representing my country at this show. It’s a great platform to promote my music and showcase Malawian talent to the world,” said Malawian artist Tay Grin.

Last year’s City of Stars festival saw Malawian artist Peter Mawanga booked by Celtic Connections for a Glasgow performance in January. Lake of Stars will continue to bring festival-bookers to Malawi to help other artists progress their international careers. 

“We are so excited about playing this show in Glasgow with all our amazing Malawian music friends,” said Johan Hugo of Swedish-Malawian duo The Very Best.

Also performing at the event is hip-hop collective Stanley Odd, whose album ‘Reject’ was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. 

“The core ethos of Lake of Stars is one of connections and collaborations from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds. We’re honoured and excited to share a stage with such amazing Malawian artists,” said Solareye, the group’s frontman.

“Lake of Stars is recognized as one of the most amazing music festivals in the world and it’s great to be involved in such a positive, international event.”

Described by Q magazine as “simply the finest festival in the world,” Lake of Stars will return to the incredible Sunbird Nkopola Lodge from 26-28 September for the 10th edition of the award-winning arts event, rated amongst the top festivals in Africa by CNN and Metro.

“With the support of Creative Scotland, the festival will build on the connections between Scotland and Malawi by hosting 12 creatives from Scotland including a poet, comedian, writer, filmmaker and a street artist in addition to Stanley Odd.”

The Lake of Stars project was born from a desire to raise money for a developing economy, help promote Malawi as a tourist destination and expose Malawian artists to an international audience. The project has reached more than 200 million people through international and local media coverage, and generated a spend of over $3.25 million in Malawi.

The Very Best’s Johan said: “We are deeply grateful to finally be able to return to the UK for a show, our first in 6 years. Thank you, Lake of Stars! Thank you, Commonwealth Games! See you soon, Glasgow. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!”