On song for Malawi

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An Irish woman has recorded an album to raise money for Ripple Africa, a charity working to help people living in poverty in Malawi. Maggie Devlin, originally from Cookstown, has joined forces with Michael Johnston to record ‘Give A Sunrise’, a debut musical narrative which celebrates the people and landscape of Malawi.

More commonly known as ‘Yo Como’ the indie/folk rock duo was formed in Waxy O’Connor’s venue in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2007 and this is their first musical project proper.

The hauntingly beautiful tracks on ‘Give A Sunrise’ are contemporary reworkings of traditional Scottish and Irish music, with influences from Bert Jansch to The Waterboys.

The powerfully intimate and evocative tracks include ‘Anam Cara’, ‘Francie’, and ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ with Michael on instruments and Maggie providing vocals.

Maggie previously spent a year teaching English in a voluntary capacity in the Malawian community of Mwaya and her love of the country has encouraged her to use her new-found musical talents to raise much-needed cash.

The aim of the album is not only to raise money but also to boost the profile of Malawi and to encourage people to donate to the Ripple Africa charity.

Maggie said she wanted to thank violinist Jenny Whitham and steel guitarist Jeff Hanson for their contributions.

“Jenny, as well as bringing tremendous fun to our sessions, added another dimension to Billy Taylor and Hanson’s cross-Atlantic steel guitar work on Anam Cara. It brought a unique quality to the song, totally transforming the sound,” she said.

And Maggie added that during the recession when the world is currently tightening its belt, Ripple needs the help of people in the Cookstown district more than ever.

“If you enjoy listening to the music then please consider donating a little to this very worthy cause,” she said. “Every time you listen to ‘Give a Sunrise’ I want you to think of the love in a child’s eyes who can attend school because they bought this album, the pride in a man’s face who is able to support his family because the purchase paid for his salary and the relief experienced by a mother whose child is protected from disease because a Ripple Africa volunteer gave her child life-saving vaccinations.”

Ripple Africa supports education, healthcare, and the environment in the rural community of Mwaya, and works with the people to empower change. Their motto is ‘give a hand up, not a hand out.’

Visit Maggie and Michael’s website www.yocomo.co.uk, make a donation and download the album. You can also become a fan of the group at www.myspace.com/yocomomusic.

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