A group of male and female inmates doing time at Malawi’s Zomba Prison have been nominated for a Grammy award in the World Music category. The prisoners, who are members of the Zomba Prison Project, recorded the album I Have No Everything Here in jail with the help of award winning producer Ian Brennan.
Members of the Zomba Prison Project have been incarcerated for various crimes, which include assault, murder and theft. The nomination is the first time that a music production from Malawi has been recognised by the acclaimed awards.
The 20-track album was recorded in 2013 and released in January this year under Six Degrees Label. The album includes songs: Listen to Me (or I Will Kick Your Ass), Please, Don’t Kill My Child, Prison of Sinners, The Weary & the Burdened, amongst others.
Commenting on the nomination, the producer Brennan told Al Jazeera, “I am very happy for the prisoners and quite shocked really,”
“The awards have become extremely celebrity-driven, and ironically, the World category in particular has become so predictable – it’s the same names almost every year … so to see a group of unknown individuals get a nomination makes it that much more of an accomplishment”.
The Zomba Prison Project will be competing against Brazilian superstar, Gilberto Gil’s “Gilbertos Samba Ao Vivo”, Beninise Angelique Kidjo’s “Sings”, South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo With Ella Spira & The Inala Ensemble’s “Music From Inala” and Indian Anoushka Shankar’s “Home”.