❝Inmates of the Zomba high-security prison have become the first Malawians to be nominated for the American awards…The maximum security prison in Zomba, Malawi is not the sort of place where Grammy-nominated albums are typically recorded.
But a group of Zomba’s inmates, many of them serving life sentences for offences including murder and theft, have found themselves nominated for a the prestigious awards in the best world music album category.
❝Announced last week, the group – known as the Zomba Prison Band – are joined on the shortlist by some of world music’s biggest stars: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Angelique Kidjo, Gilberto Gil and Anoushka Shankar.
“I was shocked. Absolutely shocked… The other four nominated artists all have roots that go back decades, so to see this group of completely unknown people from what is really a lesser known country get recognised is really humbling,” said Ian Brennan, who produced the album.
❝Recorded in the summer of 2013, 16 inmates wrote and performed the songs for the album, I Have No Everything Here.
They are the first Malawian musicians to be nominated at the prestigious Grammys.
But Brennan doesn’t know if the prisoners involved have been informed of their historic nomination, as all communication with them must go through the prison commissioner or local NGOs.
Lovely sound, meaningful music. My kind of music.