It was from the late 1970s that young boys with homemade banjos were increasingly seen at street corners, on country roads and around towns in Malawi. They began to not only to construct banjos but also guitars, percussive devices as well as a huge bass banjo/guitar, usually with a single string, played with stick or a bottle as a slider.
This is a vibrant culture, neglected by the local mass media that go for the established dance music played with electric guitars, keyboard and synthesizers. From the 1990s until recently, however, the music played by itinerant adolescents was the most varied and most frequently encountered small group musical activity across Malawi and parts of Zambia. Their audiences are found at market places, mini-bus stations, various other points of gathering and also in or near their home villages at dance parties. Their repertoire is a creative mix of personal compositions (music and text) in the style of current media transmitted music, from chimurenga to reggae etc., but usually much more complex than the models which are emulated.
Many people are not aware of the intense experimental spirit that pushes these boys. They continually invent or discover new terrain in acoustics and performance technique. This collection presents a wide variety of audio-visual field recordings filmed by renowned Malawian cultural anthropologist Moya A. Malamusi.