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Malia: Malawi Blues/Njira [Digipak]

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

The music of Malia can without a doubt be seen as impressive evidence of this worldwide fusion. Moving from the southern African republic of Malawi to London at the age of fourteen, the singer spent her teenage years in the Big Smoke. In 2012, Malia published a tribute to Nina Simone, Black Orchid, which won that year's ECHO Jazz Award. In 2014, Boris Blank produced the eleven electronically shaped songs of her album Convergence. This new album features thoughtful, mostly slow-paced originals, with sparingly orchestrated piano supported by guitar and percussion, amongst them an almost minimalistic cover version of the classic 'Moon River'. Right from the outset, Malia with Malawi Blues/Njira looks back to the sound of her childhood. Not only in the rousing 'Love Is Holding Both Our Hands' are the local vibes of the Kwela- and Kwasa-Kwasa traditions heard. Of course that is just one aspect of her rich oeuvre. Her songs are characterized by artistic experiences and experiments, an amalgam that has shaped Malia's life, and a lasting effect of her time on the club scene in London, where she was able to sharpen her sense of timing in small bars in front of small audiences. Here she was always able to adjust her sets live and directly, evening after evening. This musical diversity is now to her benefit, when, on 'Chipadzuwa' (a slang term in southern Africa for pretty woman), she switches between the regional language of Chichewa and the world language of English with mellifluous ease. With the support of the virtuoso pianist Alex Wilson, comes a sound that is cool and yet warm-hearted. Malia has arrived in a global musical world which she works and fights for.


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