This year, the 6th annual Manda Wilderness Choir Festival, sponsored by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, saw 13 choirs competing for the coveted prize and more importantly bragging rights.
In collaboration with the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Manda Wilderness Community Trust provides an opportunity for the villages of northern Mozambique to show off their impressive skills. Each choir consists of the finest and most talented choir members in the region, who spend countless hours preparing two songs to perform for a panel of judges and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. A local band provides further entertainment for the audience, and everyone dines together for a feast under the moonlight.
The cheering crowd, Likoma Islanders Band, Nkwichi Lodge guests and Wired for Sound all attended the festivities atop the newly built stage in the normally sleepy lakeshore village of Cobue. In the past the festival has been held on the steps of the historic Roman Catholic Church.
“It’s a fantastic event that promotes unity among the different communities, and gives an opportunity to our singers to learn and improve, as well as encouraging spiritual growth in the Manda Wilderness region,” says Richard Stephano Mngulu, the Manda’s Trust local Community Projects Manager and a keen village choir master himself. “I hope we can keep enjoying our music in the future through this project”
Watch this amazing video of the choirs here filmed by Wired for Sound:
18-year-old Jay Richardson took up the role of Guest Choir Director for this years festivities, which took place on the 5th September. He mentions in his blog, “For everyone present it was a highly meaningful coming together which reaffirmed the social potential of music – and its potential to promote gender equality, for the prize of Best Choirmaster went to a young woman, the only female choirmaster in the entire competition! The first prize went to Chicaia village for the second year running, closely followed by Mbueca and then Chirola. Prize-giving followed a stunningly energetic performance by the band and a dinner successfully provided for over 300 people. If there is any night in my life that I never forget, that one will be it.”
Read more about the Nkichi Lodge in: Brighter Days on the Lake of Stars