Mokoomba plans local charm offensive

HARARE - Award-winning Afro-fusion band Mokoomba will undertake a nationwide tour and perform more in high density areas as part of a strategy to bolster their following in the country.

The Victoria Falls group, currently on a tour of the United States of America (USA) and Canada, have won a string of international awards including the 2013 Songlines Music Awards (Newcomer’s Category) despite having a limited support base in their homeland.

Marcus Gora, the group’s manager, told the Daily News that they would soon extend their shows to high density suburbs around the country to show that “we are not just about overseas shows and Harare’s northern suburbs.”

“We intend to perform in places like Highfield and Mufakose and in as many new venues as we can every time we are in Zimbabwe but that does not mean we will stop playing at places like the Book Café,” said Gora.

“Some people wrongly think we are too Eurocentric. This is very untrue. When Mokoomba returned from their recent tour of Europe they performed in Maputo, Johannesburg and at the Bushfire Festival in Swaziland.”

Abundance Mutori, the group’s bassist and spokesperson, said the internationally-acclaimed group continues to garner and will not sway the Tonga rhythms group from their aim of luring more Zimbabwean fans.

“We are lucky that we have managed to impress the varied audiences we play for all over the world even though there is always immense pressure on us to keep producing quality stuff.

“The truth of the matter, though, is that we are determined to make a name in Zimbabwe,” said Mutori.

Formed in 2001, Mokoomba’s road to fame started in August 2008 when they won the Music Crossroads InterRegional Festival in Lilongwe, Malawi which presented them a chance to tour Europe and record an album.

The band released the album Kweseka in 2009, winning critics and audiences alike with their electrifying mix of Afro-fusion energy and tantalising traditional Tonga beats. Tours across Europe soon followed, and they released their second album Rising Tide in 2012 which was rated as ‘one of the World’s 10 best albums of the year’ by fROOTS magazine.

Following a live performance on later... with Jools Holland on BBC and a showcase at the WOMEX Festival in Greece, the band won the prestigious Songlines Music Award for “Best Newcomer” last year.

Mokoomba, whose music combines traditional and modern instruments with a rich blend of Tonga rhythms and other African beats, comprises lead singer Mathias Muzaza, Trustworth Samende on lead guitar, Abundance Mutori on bass, Donald Moyo on keyboards, Ndaba Coster Moyo on drums, and Miti Mugande on percussion.

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