The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Canvas

Hearing is Healing moves many at Wednesday performance

Peter Mawanga

Peter Mawanga is a big-time musician in Malawi.

On Sept. 21, Mawanga brought his music to UNC. He and a variety local musicians put on a show at the FedEx Global Education Center, performing songs from the upcoming fund raising album, “Stories of AIDS through Music.”

“I do music to make sure I address social issues,” Mawanga said. “Music is a very big thing in our country.”

Before performing, Mawanga spoke about the high rate of HIV/AIDS in Malawi and the false public image that surrounds it. He hopes his album will show the world a different side of the epidemic.

“There are lots of misconceptions of people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Mawanga. “People only know negative things.”
He hopes the stigmas that color the epidemic will stop.

“People shun you. Certain doors begin to close,” Mawanga said.

The project is a collaboration between Mawamga and two UNC alumnus, Jon Haas and Andrew Magill.

Magill collected narratives of people with HIV/AIDs while traveling in Malawi on the Fulbright-mtvU fellowship.

Magill and Mawanga began their project through word of mouth. As a senior, Haas heard about Magill’s work and decided to contact him.

The three traveled to Malawi, where Haas filmed the two performers creating their music for a documentary. The film was shown before Mawanga’s speech.

Mawanga was accompanied by local musicians that had been assembled by Haas. The performers had only rehearsed once before their powerful and energetic act.

During one of the songs, Mawanga called upon the audience to sing and dance along.

The album was inspired by the group’s time in Malawi, Mawanga said.

“I like to write for people who don’t have a voice,” Mawanga said.

The album boasts 10 songs with lyrics rooted in the most telling narratives. Magill will record the English part of the album, featuring American singers, in November when he returns from Malawi.

“Stories of AIDS Through Music” is set for release in spring 2011.

After its release, Magill, Mawanga, Haas and fellow helpers want to publicize the album and continue to promote awareness. Mawanga is set to return to the U.S. for a tour in the fall 2011.

“We want this album to go platinum,” Mawanga said.

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