The Karonga-based Lusubiro Band has great youthful musical entertainers that proved their natural endowment and adapted musical understanding by winning last year’s Chibuku National Competition.
But according to Prof. Chungja Agnes Kim, the brains behind the Lusubiro Music Centre, they do not want to train music entertainers but music leaders.
Understanding the Korean Music Queen speak at least I stat understanding that Malawi has been saved from the bottomless pit in as far as its lack of music destiny is concerned.
Prof. Kim as the Director of the Lusubiro Music Centre says, unlike creating music entertainers, creating music leaders is the win-win scenario for Malawi because a music leader is someone who is able to use the language of music to change the world.
She says music softens the heart. It can stop wars. Music can help us sympathise with each other. Music can end poverty and injustice. Music is the language that God gave people to go beyond themselves. Music inspires in us noble feelings. Music humanises us. Music can save the world…it is the purest language of love, joy and peace.
She says it would have been easy to establish a music centre in big city like Lilongwe or Blantyre but she chose Karonga because she wants to give the poorest and remotest people of the country a chance to become the Lord’s ambassadors, just like Jesus chose the fishermen of Galilee to become his disciples.
Listening to her story, one clearly understand that had all of us possessed a spirit like one she displays the local music industry would have been somewhere in terms of achievements and success.
She recalls that she was only eleven years old when she met Irish missionaries who encouraged her to learn to sing and play piano. It looked impossible, just as it might now for the youth of Karonga. The professor says she hails from a poor family and a poor country as in 1955 South Korea was just emerging from the Korean War and it was therefore very poor although it is now the 10th richest country in the world.
As a girl she says she realised her rich talent and that she was feeling the passion to become a musician and she followed it to an extent that when she was completing her secondary education she met a second group of missionaries from Germany who played a bigger role in her life. They made it possible for her to go to Germany and study music where she attained a Bachelors Degree and then later a Masters Degree in Vienna, Austria.
And to show her gratitude to the missionaries she established the Lusubiro Music Centre.
Why this is going to change the music terrain in Malawi is because she has love and passion to train music leaders for Malawi. She does this by giving them a chance to go outside the country to study music and become professional musicians.
She has already sent several young boys and girls to the Korean National University of Arts which she says is the best in Asia. She should know, she has taught music there for 15 years.
In October last year, Phillip Mwanjasi and Limbani Munthali, who were playing saxophone and trumpet in the Lusubiro band, were sent to the university where they will spend four years studying music under the Korean Government scholarship. For the next four years the Korean government will be spending K4m on each student per year.
Next time the Music Association of Malawi will be staging another of their ‘Mickey Mouse’ music awards they should not forget Prof. Chungja Agnes Kim.