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Image courtesy of Johan Hugo.

Lazarus Is the Malawi Street Musician Fighting Against the Persecution of People With Albinism

His new single is "Ndife Alendo" is out now and a documentary will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival.

Lazarus is a street performer based in Malawi whose story is both beautiful and dark. His music came into the eyes of producer Johan Hugo (The Very Best) when his friend sent him a clip of Lazarus performing in a shopping center in his home of Lilongwe with his homemade banjo.

As a person with albinism, Lazarus suffers a lot of senseless persecution in Malawi. "People with albinism in that part of Africa are hunted, killed or mutilated for their body parts," Johan explains via e-mail, "which some people think are magical, and are sold on black market for big money for witchcraft. It's a massive insane problem."

In order to shed light on the issue, the producer, who's worked with the likes of Baaba Maal and Mumford & Sons, decided to take on the project of recording an album with Lazarus. Johan traveled to Malawi alongside a documentary crew that included the Oscar-nominated, Emmy winning director David Darg and Bryn Mooser.

Together, they tracked down Lazarus, who they found still playing on the street to support his wife and two kids, who also have albinism. They recorded an album of Lazarus' songs with little extra production and the help of Johan's fellow member of The Very Best, Esau Mwamwaya, and a choir. Everything was recorded outdoors in the outskirts of Lilongwe. th

The album, Stomp On The Devil, will feature tracks that blend Lazarus' traditional Malawian style with modern folk. You can check out its lead single "Ndife Alendo" below. It comes paired with a remix by Moroka.

The Lazarus documentary is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.




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Poster for the documentary Lazarus. (Courtesy of Johan Hugo)

Watch the Award-Winning Documentary About Lazarus, Malawian Street Musician Turned Global Music Activist

The musician uses his music as a platform to fight for the rights of people with albinism like himself.

Lazarus. His name came from the blisters and burns he suffered as a newborn on his parents' backs as they worked in the fields. As an albino in Malawi, his parents didn't have any sunscreen or protection—the other children didn't need it. From physical pains like that one to mental and emotional difficulties, Lazarus Chigwandali has endured much in his lifetime and has since dedicated his life to using music to fight against the persecution of people with albinism. You can now watch that journey as a documentary, entitled Lazarus, was made available to the public yesterday via The New Yorker.

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Photo courtesy of Lazarus

Watch Lazarus' New Music Video For 'Moyo Wanga'

"This song talks about my life and my struggle, the dangers and discrimination I've faced because I have albinism. Now I have an opportunity to fight for the survival of my people," says Lazarus.

Lazarus is a rising artist from Malawi who's fighting for social change for people with albinism in his country, and across Africa.

He just released his debut album, Stomp On The Devil, which blends traditional Malawian styles with modern folk, all shaped by Lazarus' past as a street musician.

The 11-song record was produced by Johan Hugo, who you may know from his work with The Very Best, Baaba Maal, and Mumford & Sons, and was recorded outside Lazarus' house to better capture the sound of the streets of Malawi.

As a person with albinism, Lazarus suffers a lot of senseless persecution in Malawi, an issue that's at the focus of the short documentary, Lazarus, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.

Today we're premiering the new music video for "Moyo Wanga" released alongside Extinction Rebellion. The video, directed by Johan Hugo, follows Lazarus as he performs at home in Malawi, as well as across New York City, through rotoscoped footage.

It features cameos from Leonardo DiCaprio, Mumford & Sons, David Arquette, Bon Iver, The National, Banning Eyre, and more.

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GuiltyBeatz, Kwesi Arthur & Mr Eazi's "Pilolo" visualizer video (Youtube).

The 20 Best Ghanaian Songs of 2019

Featuring Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, Amaarae, Kwesi Arthur, Shatta Wale, Efya GuiltyBeatz, Joey B, R2Bees and many more.

2019 was definitely an exciting year for Ghanaian music.

Right from the top of the year, we saw both new and established make their mark with songs that would soundtrack the nation's airwaves, functions, and nights for months to come. In 2019 we got to experience an E.L comeback, Shatta Wale and Beyoncé on the same song, numerous solid Ghana-Naija collaborations, and bop after bop by old and new artists alike.

We also saw the rise of brand new artists, starting from the likes of J.Derobie's wave making debut in January, to Kofi Mole's widespread trap anthem, to Fameye's declaration of brokeness, to the promising future superstar Sam Opoku. As far as projects go, 2019 was a good year for that in the Ghana music space as well. We were blessed with an EP from Sarkodie, an album by the superstar duo R2Bees, talented singer King Promise's debut album, Ko-Jo Cue's stellar debut, and M.anifest's 7-track feel-good EP, among several others.

Ghanaian music has been stepping its game up lately, and there's only one way to go from here. Below, we give you the rundown on the Ghanaian songs that stole ears and hearts and set the pace for the country's sound this year.

Check out the list below. Listen in no particular order.—Nnamdi Okirike

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for AFI)

Cynthia Erivo Earns Golden Globe Nomination for 'Harriet'

Check out the full list of 2020 nominees (and the snubs).

Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo has earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman in Harriet. She's earned a nomination for Best Original Song for 'Stand Up."

She's nominated in the "Best Performance by an Actress In a Motion Picture—Drama" alongside Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Renée Zellwegger and Saoirse Ronan.

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