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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.


People with albinism are often hunted in the region as some believe that limbs, body parts or deaths of those with the condition are magical and to be used for witchcraft. It makes everyday life isolating and dangerous for people with it. The film tells the intersection of three characters: Ikponwosa Ero, independent expert for the United Nations on the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism; Johan Hugo, a seasoned and reputable producer known for his work with Baaba Maal, Mumford & Sons and in The Very Best; and, of course, Lazarus—his music the connection between all three.


From left to right: David Darg, Johan Hugo, Lazarus, Bryn Mooser. (Photo courtesy of Johan Hugo)


When Hugo traveled to Malawi to meet and hear Lazarus in person, he hoped to at least record some of his music, but he also brought two friends in tow. Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director David Darg and producer Bryn Mooser. They were able to capture the essence of Lazarus' story, the beauty of his music (which has kind of an upbeat-early-ska-punk-rock vibe with an African twist), the power of his message and his journey from street busker in Lilongwe to music activist performing around the world. It's a tale of darkness and triumph, earning an Official Selection showing at Tribeca Film Festival and Best Documentary Prize at Hollyshorts. Watch it below and stream his debut album Stomp on the Devil.


Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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