Free concert Oct. 14: “Mau a Malawi: Stories of AIDS” & album release

A free concert by a recent Carolina graduate and a group of acclaimed African musicians at Memorial Hall on Oct. 14 will benefit AIDS orphans.

The 8 p.m. concert will also mark 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 event is another among many connections that UNC-Chapel Hill has with Malawi through health care, research and public service.

The concert 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.

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Published Oct. 12, 2011.