Featured Artist: Erik Paliani

For over a decade, Erik Paliani has quietly made a name for himself as one of the most revered and accomplished producers, songwriters and guitarists working in South Africa.

Titled ‘CHITUKUTUKU’, the 10-track album is, in many ways, a love letter to the continent that has enabled the 34-year-old to bring such a myriad of musical styles and influences to his work, both here as a solo artist and with others – most notably Zamajobe and Hugh Masekela.

“I guess the album is very much about how I understand Africa and the different worlds that are to be found here,” Paliani explains.

A Malawian native, it’s no wonder that the over-arching feeling throughout ‘CHITUKUTUKU’ is the dreaminess that Paliani says is so prevalent in the villages of his own country. “It’s an amazing thing. You can go to a village or even the Lake during the day and it’s quiet. Then nighttime comes and it becomes alive, but in a magical, dreamy kind of way.”

Erik Paliani performs tracks from his album Chitukutuku at The State Theatre in PTA (November 2010)

Chitukutuku :

Perhaps the song that’s the most reflective of this is ‘Kumalewule’, the last song that Paliani wrote for ‘CHITUKUTUKU’. In its reverie about old-fashioned dating rituals (“Sunset watch at the Saint Michaels Church Park/Dinner at the Soche Mountain Hotel/Proceed to Lunzu, for a cold beer at Mamesa’s Bottle store/Finally watch Bright Nkhata and the Makasu Band…” Paliani sings in Chichewa) the song is an achingly beautiful listen.

‘Kumalewule’ is also a great example of Paliani’s musical gifts. Featuring nothing more than the artist on acoustic guitar and vocals, the song is nonetheless one of the most mesmerising on ‘CHITUKUTUKU’ and its sparse production says a great deal about Paliani’s intuitive feel for allowing the music itself to lead proceedings in the recording studio.

Erik Paliani performs tracks from his album Chitukutuku at The State Theatre in PTA (November 2010)

Kumalewule :

For more information visit Erik Paliani’s official website: www.erikpaliani.co.za

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