Date: Friday, Oct. 14, 2011
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: Memorial Hall, UNC Campus (directions and parking)
Admission: Free ticketed event. Tickets at Memorial Hall box office and at the door. Donations are welcome (suggested levels are $1, $5 $10, $15).
August 23, 2011 — On October 14, 2011, the UNC campus will be the site of the official U.S. release of Mau a Malawi: Stories of AIDS, a concept album which will be released simultaneously in Malawi.
Stories of AIDS was produced and recorded in Malawi, which has one of the highest AIDS rates in Africa. It is a collaboration between North Carolina native and UNC alumnus Andrew Finn Magill, a traditional Irish and American fiddler, and acclaimed Malawian singer-songwriter, Peter Mawanga.
“This album has the unique power to provide a voice to what has long been a voiceless epidemic, drawing upon the transformative power of music to tell stories of real life courage and hope,” said Magill, who is co-producer of Stories of AIDS.
The concert in Memorial Hall will be a multimedia experience, blending live music from the album with excerpts from the related documentary film, If My Eyes Could Sing, dramatic readings, and dance. The Malawian musicians represent the premier musical talent from their country: Mawanga (guitar, vocals), Mavuto Miliyomi (marimba), Mallen Chakwera (vocals), Dryson Mwimba (drums), and Alfred Sitolo (bass guitar). The performance will also feature many of the American musicians who perform on the album: Magill, Jorge Izqueirdo, Dan Kelo, Lizzy Ross, and Kaitlin Houlditch-Fair.
The concert is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome. Proceeds from the concert, as well as album sales, will go to support Talents of the Malawian Child, a nonprofit organization founded by Mawanga. TOMC strives to provide tangible economic opportunities to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, by giving them the skills and self-esteem to prepare for a sustainable career working in the arts.
The October 14 performance is made possible with support from IGHID and the Office of the Executive Director for the Performing Arts at UNC.
About Stories of AIDS
Stories of AIDS is foremost a piece of art, exploring complex issues of stigma, loss, and perseverance. Its aim is to inspire a cross-cultural dialogue about AIDS, one that is ultimately hopeful. Inspired by interviews Magill and Mawanga conducted during a six-month tour of Malawi, each song is a musical reflection of a real person and their personal story, pioneering a new way to communicate the human experience of AIDS.
Magill received a Fulbright-mtvU fellowship in 2010 to create this album, which uniquely fuses Mawanga’s traditional Malawian sound with Magill’s classical, Southern, and Irish influences. The album brings together ten of Malawi’s most talented musicians with eight of America’s top singer-songwriters, among them Cathie Ryan and Ellis Paul. The ten songs use direct quotes from the people interviewed, in both Chichewa (Malawi’s native language) and English, and weave together real life stories of hope, strength and courage of those touched by AIDS.
“The imagery depicting Africa’s AIDS epidemic is overwhelmingly negative,” said Mawanga, who is arguably Malawi’s most famous musician and co-producer of the album. “Through the storytelling power of music, this album truly transcends borders and strives to promote a positive illustration of hope in what is far too often portrayed as a hopeless fight.”
The album provides the listener with a more holistic understanding of the diversity of social issues and often complicated nuances that are part of Malawi’s AIDS epidemic.
About If My Eyes Could Sing
The full-length feature documentary, If My Eyes Could Sing, explores the sounds and stories behind the album, Stories of AIDS, while helping to bring to life some of the realities faced by those living with HIV/AIDS. Created by filmmaker, North Carolina-native, and UNC alumnus Jon Haas, the documentary follows the making of the album and will premier in Fall 2011.
“Our goal is simple: tell a story of hope, of people, of life and living. Africans do not define themselves by this disease, so why should we?” said Haas. “The fight is far from over, but we must recognize both the incredible struggle and exciting progress being made. They come hand in hand; if we can influence the dialogue in this country, even in the slightest, we’ve done our job.”
Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases contact: Lisa Chensvold, (919) 843-5719, firstname.lastname@example.org