Malawi's Biggest Festival. Ever!

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Malawi is reaching fever pitch as it prepares for the biggest musical festival ever to hit Africa's warm heart - the Music Crossroads InterRegional Festival (IRF). This one-of-a-kind annual event combines music, people and humanitarian efforts to bring together the best young talents from Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi for southern Africa's greatest music competition.

Malawi is reaching fever pitch as it prepares for the biggest musical festival ever to hit Africa's warm heart - the Music Crossroads InterRegional Festival (IRF). This one-of-a-kind annual event combines music, people and humanitarian efforts to bring together the best young talents from Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi for southern Africa's greatest music competition.

Lilongwe is covered from head to toe in bright festival posters heralding the coming IRF which will kick-off on the 7th and 8th of August with the Malawian National Finals, building up to the pinnacle event - the Music Crossroads InterRegional Grand Final - on the 9th and then cooling of with a community festival at Salima (near Lake Malawi) on the 10th.

This is a big year for Malawi, as not only are they to host the IRF but as they have been the reigning Music Crossroads champions for two years running, having won in Maputo (2006) with Konga Vibes and Harare (2007) with Body Mind and Soul. Hopes are high and they will definitely be looking to take the title for a third year in a row. Music Crossroads Malawi national coordinator Mathews Mfune assures that they have got the goods to take it all the way. The Malawians will certainly not have it easy though, as for the past year up and coming artists from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been furiously training and competing with only two groups being selected from each country to represent their nation at the prestigious IRF Grand Final.

What these artists are competing for is, as they say, worth more than gold. It is a once in a lifetime chance to launch their international musical careers, the lucky break they have all been working for. The winner of the IRF Grand Final will receive a Music Crossroads European Tour of over 10 different countries, professional training and an album recording, setting them firmly on the road to fame. Body Mind & Soul last year's laureates have recently returned home from their whirlwind tour and are set to make a special appearance at the festival before beginning preparations for their 2009 US Tour.

Renowned bassist and world musician Manou Gallo (Ivory Coast/ Belgium) will also be in Malawi to give tomorrow's stars the insights they will need to face the challenges and trials of making it professionally in the international music industry. Other international guests include Maslow (Ireland) and Oh Hollie Neverdays (Sweden), both selected through similar programs, they will both perform throughout the festival.

Extras:

Festival Poster: http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb289/JMIMCSA/IRF2008.jpg
Festival Brochure: http://www.jmi.net/pub.php?ID=44

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Initiated by Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI) in 1995, Music Crossroads is a unique youth-empowerment-through-music program is made up of workshops, festivals and competitions to promote the African traditional and contemporary/urban music of young African musicians.

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Matt Clark
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