Lake of Stars with Bianca Buisman
Traveling across countries to the Lake of Stars.
You’ll find the Malawian Lake of Stars Festival makes not only for a more fulfilling music experience, but the 35-hour journey there provides you with different perspectives, many surprises and unexpected ways of doing things.
Making it worth your time hustling for a little calm and crazy by the ocean mimicking lake, fisherman boat-lights personating a Galaxy over the water and worldly live sounds taking you through Africa, the British Isle, Europe, and Americas’ grooves.
A mini holiday for yourself that starts with ever-changing landscapes…
A mini holiday for yourself that starts with ever-changing landscapes and cultures is bound to give you an overwhelming feeling of how humble, hard and diverse Africa is.
Passing Through Africa:
Filing like a penguin through different custom points, having your passport stamped in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, only to be faced with ever-changing stretches of the open road and yawning sky, you can’t help but begin to note the little quirks of your direct environment.
A Different World: Respect all fools to avoid noise
A girl stands behind you in a queue, dressed only in her socks and pajamas.
Cats crowd around a man eating his dinner.
A number-plate tells passers-by to ‘Respect all fools to avoid noise’.
I nod and shrug my shoulders in agreement, why not.
Arriving in Malawi, you realize how much it has to offer. Malawians are very relaxed, curious, humble and passionate people that are willing to inform or teach you about anything, be it culture or places to go. Inviting for the curious.
Malawian’s are Humble and Passionate People…
Their chickens, on the other hand, have it rough. They travel everywhere, so whether in restaurants or food stalls on the way to or at the Lake of Stars, the chicken on your plate will be freshest that you have ever eaten.
The same also goes for potato chips, fresh fruits, and vegetables. All are rich in colour, flavour, and taste.
Arriving at Lake of Stars:
Arriving at Lake of Stars, you find it has one of the most punctual line-ups and as with any festival, the hunger for new music being fulfilled is waiting around the corner.
It’s one of most diverse line-ups and crowds I have ever experienced.
For instance, watching a rock band from Zambia, I happened to meet a new friend at the bar, informing me of the jiving nightlife in Zambia.
I also bumped into a few new friends on the ‘beach’, thereafter, we watched a hip-hop act from Malawi, where my new friends ended up giving me a break down of what the hip-hop crew was saying and why the people love what they voice, challenging the government and people with respect for democratic principles.
Banou Azania at Lake of Stars:
Lastly, watching a band called Banou Azania, a six-piece jazz band with a multi-cultural ensemble with origins from the United Kingdom, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Kenya.
Finding Faith Mussa and others:
Among my favourite acts were Faith Mussa, a Malawian Afrosoul Urban Gospel musician with some awesome guitar moves.
Berita, a Zimbabwe-born South African Afrosoul musician who had the crowd eating out of her hand her musical honesty; Sauti Sol, a Kenyan Afropop boy band formed in Nairobi that has an utterly unique crowd energy; Fredokiss, a Malawian Urban Hip-Hop group that gives you an insight of the youth’s view in Malawi.
Slickartie, an Afro-Jazz singer from Namibia who holds a timeless voice wrapped in beautiful earthly sounds; Michael Pedersen, a jarring Scottish poet; and the one and only Major Lazer Electronic Dance music (because hey, everyone likes to dance).
Sauti Sol – Short N Sweet ft Nyashinski:
Forus Dance Crew: They come from Dzaleka ‘I will never do it again’ prison:
The list goes could go on and on, but I’ll just keep it to my number one performance, the Forus Dance Crew (Force, united and success).
They come from Dzaleka ‘I will never do it again’ prison, transformed into a refugee Camp and now home to some 34,000 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Their brilliantly choreographed theatrical dance just goes to show that refugees do not come empty-handed.
Forus Crew – Lubwa by Tay grin (Dance Video)
A True Worldly African Festival:
All of the acts come with crowds of their own, and with so many countries in the mix, it makes for an entirely different feat.
You may not share the same language, background or culture, but for those few days, you share the music and the spirit that comes with it. It is nothing less than an African experience, a true worldly African festival.
Whether you save a for years to attend it in style, or scrabble together some funds and pay for the rest through volunteering, I’d recommend finding any way you can to get to the Lake of Stars to get in touch with your continent.
It’s a journey that holds a little something extra.