Music In Africa partners with groundbreaking Wired For Sound project

Music In Africa is excited to announce a strategic collaboration with Wired For Sound - an extremely important initiative that will go a long way in supporting the African music sector and its operators.

Recording in Malawi for Wired For Sound. Photo: Kim Winter
Recording in Malawi for Wired For Sound. Photo: Kim Winter

Spearheaded by members of the internationally acclaimed South African band Freshlyground (Simon Attwell and Julio Sigauque) and SAfm producer Kim Winter, Wired For Sound is a solar-powered mobile recording studio that discovers, records and promotes artists, while also supporting community radio stations by setting up mobile recording studios and offering training. Wired For Sound launched their successful pilot project traveling through northern Mozambique in 2013.

The collaboration with Music In Africa in 2015 sees the project visiting four sites in Malawi - namely Monkey Bay, Mchinji, Nkhotakota and Karonga - during a two-month period (July to September). This phase offers local musicians a chance to professionally record their music for free. Each recorded musician receives a copy of his/her song to use as they please. During the project team’s visit, the musicians’ songs are played on air and they are interviewed on local radio stations.

After the trip through Malawi is completed, Wired For Sound makes a selection of tracks, which are further produced and collaborated on with more established artists. These tracks are compiled into an album, which will be professionally marketed and made available for download. The album serves as a way to showcase the music and artists, and any revenue generated from sales will go towards installing more solar-powered recording studios at partner radio stations in Malawi. A few promotional copies of the album will also be printed.

As a way of supporting up-and-coming talent, some of the musicians get the opportunity to collaborate with world-class musicians from Freshlyground. This year two musicians will also be selected to perform at the popular Lake of Stars festival in September. The Wired For Sound team is this year joined by prolific field recording specialist and engineer Itamar Weiss, who is part of the production team in Malawi.

Empowering community radio stations

Wired For Sound has been able to evolve their sustainability vision thanks to the partnership with Music In Africa. The project is now able to install the same professional solar-powered recording studio it utilizes in each partner radio station. This means that aspiring music and radio producers at each station can continue recording local musicians post the project’s visit.

Says Simon Attwell: “Consistent and safe electrical supply can be singled out as one of the main challenges undermining the work of community radio in Malawi and across Southern Africa.

“Installing solar studios also serves as a way to highlight community radio as a hub of social and creative engagement, and illustrates the potential of community radio to become examples of the hugely beneficial potential of solar,” he adds.

Eddie Hatitye, Director of the Music In Africa Foundation, says: “The Wired For Sound project fits perfectly with our vision to support the African music sector. We hope that we can continue this collaboration into other African countries as well in the coming years.”

Owned by the Music In Africa Foundation, Music In Africa is an initiative by Siemens Stiftung together with Goethe-Institut and many partners from across Africa.

Wired For Sound also receives much-needed support from the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA). For more information about the project, visit the Wired for Sound website.


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