A strange thing happened a few weeks ago. I got an email from Jo from ICN. After the article she had done on the WYD Book written by UK pilgrims a pilgrim called Patrick had contacted her.
Patrick had bought the Kindle version, and said we needed to correct something. I let out a groan. It’s not easy updating the book, and it wasn’t something I was about to relish. Then, I read what he said, and had to read it again. You see Patrick is from Malawi.
It’s amazing to think the book has reached that far. Then again, that’s what WYD is all about reaching around the world and pulling us all together. Whether we’re from Malawi, Britain or, well, Rio!
So, I emailed back.
You were probably wondering what on earth this correction was. It turned out- without realising – one of the pilgrims had mentioned his group, the Alleluya Band, but hadn’t realised the words on their tshirts wasn’t the name of their band – we’d just used the wrong name. Easily remedied, and now thanks to that tiny correction we have another friend and fellow pilgrim all the way away in Malawi!
But that’s quite enough from me – I thought it’d be nice to share the WYD love and a bit of the band’s story with an interview we did with the Alleluya Band. Enjoy and God Bless!
Name of band: Alleluya Band
Type of music: Malawi’s traditional music and reggae.
How did you start?
The band started in 1978 as a Parish band. It was precisely on 19 January 1978 when a 29 year old Montfort Priest from Entratico, Bergamo was celebrating his Feast Day at St. Monfort Parish in Balaka that young people boys led by Paul Banda organized his fellow young men into a small band to sing for this young priest. They performed well and Fr. Mario promised to support them. This is the promise he had kept till now. The band remained the parish band till Blessed Pope John Paul II visited Malawi in 1989. The band’s performance attracted the attention of many and since then the band trots all over the country.
How many members?
The band has 14 members and it continues to train many young people across the country.
What do you sing about?
With a motto, “Sing Life with Joy” the band’s mission has been to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music in Malawi and beyond borders.
How does your faith relate to your music?
In every album that the band produces, there is a hymn song in it. The band also tackles some social ills of our society.
How many WYDs have you been to?
The band has performed in Cologne, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Madrid, Spain in 2005, 2008 and 2011 respectively and it will be performing in Rio Brazil this June. In fact we are busy processing visas in Harare Zimbabwe. By God’s grace, we have a Malawian working in Harare who is busy working for us for free!
Are you going again, and if so what are you looking forward to?
We are going this year again. In fact just yesterday, Fr. Mario was talking about the next WYD. We were making predictions as to where it will take place. Ironically, the visas for Brazil are not yet out!
We look forward to meeting the Holy Father. We shall be proud to meet the third different pope in our music careers!
Tell us something interesting about yourselves.
While many bands educate masses with their songs, we have gone beyond the lyrics. Through our international tours, we have built a secondary school in Balaka and we support the four pillars of Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust (AYCT) which we formed in 1984, which are Healthcare; Sports and Culture; Education and Social Development.
By the way, we also have a tour in Italy, which starts end June to fundraise for the Comfort Hospital which under Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust!
Where can people hear your music?
We are on youtube!