Mokoomba scales the heights

HARARE - Dynamic Victoria Falls band ,Mokoomba, are among thirty leading bands selected by the  World Music Expo (WOMEX) from a pool of over a thousand bands from all over the world.

Mokoomba’s entry onto this elite list will enhance their chances of being invited to top world music festivals. They are the third Zimbabwean band to be granted such an honour after superstar Oliver Mtukudzi in 1998 and Chioniso Maraire in 1999.

The energetic young band from Victoria Falls has just returned from Greece where they participated at WOMEX 2012 to rave reviews.

Though Mokoomba jetted into the country only last week, their manager Marcus Gora is  scheduled to fly to Amsterdam in the Netherlands  today to conclude details of their tour of Europe in the summer of 2013.

“I am flying back to Europe Monday (today),”said Gora.

“Our tour of Europe will begin mid-May and end in August next year. We are really excited about the success we have been registering in Europe.

“On 16 October we performed before a studio audience on a BBC programme Later with Jools Holland. This programme was so successful that it was not only repeated but our latest album Rising Tide hit the number one spot in the iTunes UK World Music Charts.”

Mokoomba used the Music Crossroads Zimbabwe’s Showcase Launch at Alliance Francaise in Harare on Saturday night to demonstrate why they have become such a success in Europe.

The internationally acclaimed group were easily the pick of the crop in a bill that also included classy Marondera-based Club Shanga, Gwarimba from Mufakose and Savanna Afros hailing from Chitungwiza.

Lead singer Mathias Muzaza‘s electrifying and soulful voice reminded many in the audience of legendary West African musicians like Senegalese Youssou N'dour and Malian Salif Keita.

Mokoomba manager Marcus Gora is not surprised by the flattering comparison.

“Our music draws largely from Tonga traditional rhythms but we added Latin and West African influences. The producer of our latest album is a lady bassist called Manou Gallo from Ivory Coast. We also had 13 guest artistes on the album who added such instruments as brass, kora and cello.”

Mokoomba’s blend of Afro-fusion and traditional Tonga rhythms has taken Europe by storm ever since the all-male group, whose ages range between 22 to 27 years, won the Music Cross roads finals in Malawi,2008.

The group’s discography includes their debut album Kweseka (Drifting ahead) released in 2008,

Umvundla EP c o-produced with Dutch disc jockey Gregor Salto last year and Rising Tide released this year which is proving a big commercial success. - Dakarai Mashava, Entertainment Editor

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