In a bid that is aimed at unearthing talent and giving a platform to artists in the country, a Norwegian musician and producer, Karstein Grønnesby, has established a record label in the country.
Grønnesby is currently working as a volunteer at Music Crossroads Malawi in Lilongwe.
Known as Ujeni Records, Grønnesby said the record label has already started its operations and that it is providing talented artists and bands a platform and an opportunity to record their music.
He also said that the label will promote the music and distribute it both locally and international.
“The creative industry in the country is struggling with a lot of challenges among them piracy, so Ujeni Records serves as an introduction to the modern and global music business,” he said.
Grønnesby added that in modern and global music business, artists and bands can release their music digitally and get discovered by people all over the world and get paid in the process.
“Through Ujeni we want Malawian music to be available. Now people can easily listen to and buy Malawian music all over the world,” he said.
The Norwegian artist said Ujeni Records has a lot of interesting and talented artists under its name among them O’ta.
He revealed that O’ta has received over 100,000 plays on his single ‘Mundimasule’ on Malawi-music.net in less than one week.
The other artists Ujeni Records is working with are female singer Rebecca Mwalwenje, up-and-coming band Mbanaye, Clifford Msiska, a banjo-wielding songwriter from Livingstonia and traditional Nsansi player Patrick Chimbewa from Ntchisi.
He also said that additionally, they were blessed to work with top artists such as Faith Mussa and jazz-guitarist and vocalist Ernest Ikwanga.
“We are hoping for the best and all we want is for Malawian artists to have a platform. There is talent here but it is not exposed,” he said.
Grønnesby said three of the artists will be performing at the Nkhota-kota Festival on April 22.
In addition to doing studio recordings, the Norwegian musician said Ujeni Records also does live video shootings of their bands and artists and that they do it in collaboration with Archers Multi Media.
And to celebrate the launch of the record label, Grønnesby said on Monday they had released a 30- minute live acoustic video session titled ‘Live In The Bus’.
“The concept is as creative as it is simple: six artists were invited into an old bus at Music Crossroads Malawi where each artist had to perform one song,” he said.
He said the whole session was filmed and recorded, and features artists such as Mussa, Ikwanga, Mwalwenje, Mbanaye, Chimbewa and O’ta.
Mussa said yesterday that he has not been signed by the record label but was only involved in the ‘Live in a Bus’ concept.
“The Live in Bus concept was an amazing project and very creative. What I have loved about them is that they are so passionate about music and the way they package their stuff, I see them achieving great things. I am impressed,” he said.