TikTok fame wins Malawi singer, 92, birthday celebration with president

Malawian musician Giddes Chalamanda performs his tune Linny Hoo, at his dwelling in Chiradzulu village, January 28, 2022. Reuters/Eldson Chagara

Chiradzulu, Malawi: Malawian musician Giddes Chalamanda had by no means dreamed in his 92 years that he may in the future be well-known sufficient to dine with the president adopted by an evening in a luxurious lodge.

Final month the singer did each, because of his unlikely new stardom on TikTok, a social media platform beloved of youths 4 generations faraway from him — and one he cannot entry as a result of he lacks a smartphone and even electrical energy to cost one.

Chalamanda’s ode to his daughter, “Linny Hoo” — a chirpy reggae tune with drums and synthesizers — received greater than 80 million views on the video-sharing website, owned by China know-how big ByteDance. His fame launched his profession domestically,with a number of paid requests to carry out stay.

Placing his small, lakeside southern African nation on the digital map final month introduced him to the eye of President Lazarus Chakwera, who threw a celebration for Chalamanda’s 92nd birthday on the State Home in Lilongwe.

“I didn’t anticipate that I might be invited to State Home. It was such an honour,” Chalamanda instructed Reuters at his red-brick dwelling in his village of Chiradzulu, a inexperienced space of macademia and occasional farms 30 km (18 miles) northeast of the business capital, Blantyre.

“The President requested me about my opinion on Malawi’s music trade and the humanities,” the singer added, earlier than launching right into a tune in his banjo.

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He acquired a blanket and a pair of leather-based footwear from Chakwera, and so they sang one among Chalamanda’s songs collectively: “Azimayi a Malawi”, which suggests ‘Ladies of Malawi’.

In his state of the nation tackle on Thursday, the president at one level stated, “Ours is not any odd nation. Ours is the house of the high-quality sounds of Giddes Chalamanda.”

Born in 1930 in Chirazulu, Chalamanda began taking part in music on the age of 12.

“I didn’t go far with faculty. The British colonial academics … thought I seemed too outdated to be at school,” he remembers — he would not recollect how outdated he really was then.

He took odd jobs within the tobacco trade, taking part in guitar throughout weekends at bars. Previously decade, he did handle to carry out in Germany and america.

However he was overwhelmed by the recognition of ‘Linny Hoo’. The tune, he stated, carries “a message to younger folks to have good manners by helping their aged dad and mom with family chores like sweeping the yard and drawing water.”

It stays to be seen what number of of his hundreds of thousands of younger viewers take that message to coronary heart.