For most pilgrims it is a long way to Lake of Stars festival. This year the event returned to its original site at Chintheche Inn in northern Malawi, seven hours by bus from the capital Lilongwe. Many artists come from further afield still, across Africa and Europe. Alongside them this year were groups of refugees making their own journey from Malawi’s Dzaleka camp.
These included the Amahoro Drummers, a traditional Burundian group who perform with the tall karyenda drums balanced precariously on their heads. And yet most of the two dozen drummers have lived in exile their whole lives, member Simon Nzigamasabo tells me. “Maybe 95% of us – including myself – have never seen Burundi,” he says. “I was born in Tanzania in 1985 and learned how to play this drum there. Our leaders in the camps always wanted the children to see a positive side of their country.”