The Noisettes have flown two Malawian young sisters to the UK to perform with them on the Africa Stage at BT River of Music on Sunday 22 July. Shingai Shoniwa, leader singer and bassist, with the UK band and of Zimbabwean heritage, saw Grace and Madalo Million sing in their school’s choir, on a recent visit to Malawai.
Shingai Shoniwa spotted Grace, 17, and her 21-year-old sister, Madalo, accompanying themselves on a homemade guitar made out of a sunflower oil can and some tree bark. “We saw the resourcefulness of these girls,” Shoniwa recalls, and so, at the Noisettes’ invitation, Grace and Madalo have made the journey of a lifetime to London.
“When I got my passport, I was so excited I was jumping up and down.” Grace said. Grace and Madalo Million have had the sort of tough childhood all too typical in Malawi. Their musician father died when they were young and their mother, who has HIV and unable to work, has raised them and their four siblings in poverty. But in one respect Grace Million is anything but typical. She has an extraordinary voice and sings in a remarkable soprano that belies her years but reflects the struggle for survival she has been through.
Marie da Silva, founder of Jacaranda, the secondary school that Grace and Madalo, attend, has accompanied the girls to the UK, she said: “We are blessed that The Noisettes noticed the sisters’ talents and have brought them to London. Before this, the girls had never seen a plane let alone fly in one!”
The Noisettes and Grace and Madalo perform on the Africa Stage at the London Pleasure Gardens on Sunday 22 July at 6.30pm. Tickets from:www.ticketmaster.co.uk