Malawi hosts the 6th InterRegional Music Crossroads Southern Africa Festival, 20-23 January 2005

Brussels, Belgium – Young musicians from Malawi, Mozambique,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe will soon be packing up their instruments and
heading for Blantyre, Malawi’s largest city and entertainment capital, where
they will compete at the 6th annual InterRegional Music Crossroads Southern
Africa Festival, held from 20-23 of January 2005.

After winning their national Music Crossroads competitions the groups will have
been practicing hard to make sure their acts are up to scratch. They will be
judged not only on their musical qualities but also on presentation, stage
awareness and communication. First-prize winners will get the once in a lifetime
opportunity to go on a European tour. Runners-up will be rewarded with musical
equipment, studio recordings and airplay.Hosting the InterRegional Festival for the first time, Music Crossroads Malawi
is run by the Department of Arts and Crafts (Ministry of Culture). Music in
Malawi (known as the “warm heart of Africa”) draws its influences from the
traditional styles of the country’s many ethnic groups as “Tikhu Vibrations”,
Malawian Music Crossroads Winners 2003, showed with their mix of contemporary
music, gospel and traditional Malawi music and dance.

Among the bands that have successfully launched their careers after taking part
in Music Crossroads Southern Africa are Kapa Dech and Timbila Muzimba from
Mozambique. The winners of last year’s InterRegional Festival, held in January
2004 in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), the “Oya Theatre Group” from Tanzania,
performed at the Sauti Za Busara festival in Zanzibar last February and toured
successfully in eight European countries this summer.

6th InterRegional Music Crossroads Festival – Program

20 Jan
Malawi National Finals and guest performances, French Cultural Center

21 Jan
Malawi National Finals and guest performances, French Cultural Center

22 Jan
InterRegional Competition (with bands from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia,
Zimbabwe), French Cultural Center

23 Jan
Final concert of all bands and guests, Panorama International, Mount Source

Daytime meetings and workshops take place at the French Cultural Center

Music Crossroads Southern Africa, a youth empowerment through music program
initiated by JMI in 1996, offers young African
musicians aged between 15 and 27 years old the chance to improve their musical
skills through workshops, festivals and competitions. Up-and-coming African
musicians who want to make music their lives can pick up knowledge and advice
from professionals from the music field and learn the tricks of the trade at a
Music Crossroads event which also offers a unique occasion to meet other young
musicians, gain valuable performance experience and compete for attractive
prizes such as musical instruments, studio recordings and tours in Europe. By
watching the performances, many young listeners and street kids are also
inspired to become like their local heroes. To ensure that the future of these
young musicians isn’t cut short by Aids, dedicated workshops enable participants
to address themes related to sexuality without taboos. Music Crossroads Southern
Africa receives support from SIDA, NORAD and UNESCO.

[photo by Stig Asp].