Erik Paliani is a Malawian guitarist, producer and songwriter best known for his work with South African artists Zamajobe Sithole and Hugh Masekela and American guitarist Lee Ritenour. Born in Blantyre, Malawi, Erik began his musical training as a child under the guidance of his father, a teacher by profession and an avid guitar player.
After studying in Harare, Zimbabwe he returned to Malawi, where he joined the Afro-fusion group Acacias Band, recording two successful albums and gaining the foundation for his international success. During the latter half of 1998 and continuing into 1999, Paliani began traveling to Johannesburg, South Africa for musical engagements, and by the year 2000 he had permanently relocated there. While establishing himself in the Johannesburg music scene he joined the band of Reverend Benjamin Dube and met singer Zamajobe Sithole, then a member of Dube's choir. Paliani played a key role as guitarist and producer on Zamajobe's 2004 debut album 'Ndawo Yami' for which he was nominated a SAMA award in the category Best Joint Composition. In 2006 Paliani appeared in the film 'Catch a Fire' playing the role of a jazz guitarist. That year he featured on three tracks of Lee Ritenour's album 'Smoke 'n' Mirrors'.
Beginning in 2008 he produced several albums, including 'iSiGiDiMi' for Xhosa guitarist Mavo Solomon, Zamajobe's second album 'Ndoni Yamanzi', and then in 2009 Hugh Masekela's album 'Phola'. In 2010 he released his first solo album entitled 'Chitukutuku', which also earned him critical acclaim including another SAMA nomination.