‘I love music that speaks to you before you even hear or understand the lyrics.’- Peter
‘Peter Mawanga is one of Malawi’s most unique and talented artists’. - Rhythm of Life
founder, Tristram Johnson.
At the height of the Chimurenga, the struggle for independence in Zimbabwe, a Malawian
missionary family arriving at Harare airport was stranded inside the terminal while chaos
took over the city streets. Oblivious to the muted panic in the airport lounge, two year old
Peter Mawanga broke the tension as he sang Amazing Grace, perfectly in tune, to an
amazed audience. His uncle pronounced there and then that the boy was destined to be a
After Peter’s astounding first concert, his love affair with music saw him do anything he
could to learn and experience music; through school clubs, the church choir and friends he
learned to play keyboards and guitar. In Malawi in 2002 while studying mechanical
engineering he recorded a playful album that set him on the path to his musical destiny.
Recorded under the name Peter Pine ‘Citylife’, was a sensation across Malawi. The R n’B
album’s controversial hit single ‘Amakhala ku Blantyre’ discussed the realities of urban vs
rural living. The song was so controversial it inspired several ‘response’ songs which
opposed Peter’s shattering of the ‘city streets are paved with gold’ myth.
Buoyed by the overnight success of his first album, Peter abandoned his studies for a
professional music career. Shedding the persona of Peter Pine he reverted to his own
name Peter Mawanga and began creating definitive music; globally recognized yet
intrinsically Malawian. In 2005 he recorded Zanga Zo Zama, produced by Q Malewezi on
the Chawasmugglaz label. The critically acclaimed album presented Mawanga’s truer
sound; Afrovibes - a fusion of traditional African rhythms, composition, vocal arrangements
with modern instrumentation; inspirational, introspective, spiritual and socially conscious
Zanga Zo Zama’s songs such as ‘Tsoka’, ‘Londa’, ‘Mwana Wamasiye’ and ‘Bwerera’ are
poignant songs with strong messages marking Peter’s journey from pop star to celebrated
musician and voice of the underprivileged.
Concerned by the plight of children in Malawi, Peter established Talents of the Malawian
Child in 2004. With the support of Salima Aids Support Organization (SASO), Unicef and
Plan Malawi, Peter trained and mentored orphaned and venerable children during music
workshop. As a result of these projects Peter produced albums for these children; ‘Ana a
SASO’ (2005) and ‘Vingoma nsa Visekese’(2006 ) and ‘Sounds of Lilongwe’ (2008). His
song Timveni was the official song for Plan Malawi’s Timveni children’s radio project.
Inspired to continue creating great music with young people Peter formed his own band.
In 2007 Peter’s third incarnation was born; Peter Mawanga and The Amaravi Movement.
Incorporating Malawian instrumentation, jazz guitar, marimba rhythms and singing in
Chichewa, Peter is able to speak both musically and lyrically directly to Malawi. He
composes when he is at peace and in synch with the world and therefore the result is
unrestrained and intimate.
Performing at live music venues such as Cargo, London, festivals such as Lake of Stars
and with international artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi and Wambali Mkandawire, Peter
Mawanga is has garnered respect in the music industry at large. The synergy of Peter
Mawanga and The Amaravi Movement impressed Rhythm of Life to sign Peter as the first
artist on their new record label in Malawi in 2008.
Peter Mawanga and the Amaravi Movement website: www.mawanga.com.
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