Mokoomba wins rave reviews

HARARE - Internationally-acclaimed Mokoomba has once again captured the imagination of the world with their self-produced third album titled Luyando.

The beautifully-crafted album, to be launched at Harare’s Theatre in the Park on Mach 24, has already attracted rave reviews in several top newspapers all over the world.

In a ringing endorsement, The Guardian in the United Kingdom has rated the 10-track Luyando as Mokoomba’s best to date.

“The best young band in Zimbabwe returns to basics in powerful style. Mokoomba burst on to the global scene nearly five years ago with Rising Tide, an album that featured 13 guest musicians and excursions into reggae, rap and funk.

“But they sound even better on this often sparse, DIY set in which they concentrate on gently energetic songs about traditional life, history and culture in the Victoria Falls region where they grew up.

“Mathias Muzaza is an engaging and gutsy lead singer and is backed by fine, often acoustic lead guitar from Trustworth Samende, with help from percussion, occasional use of keyboards and tight, rousing vocals from all members of the band,” wrote The Guardian.

The highly-rated Financial Times was also effusive in its praise of the album being marketed globally by Germany-based Outhere Records.

“…the guitar work is reminiscent of the heyday of chimurenga, down to the lightning-fast vamped flourishes on ‘Njawane’ before the coda speeds up; the melodies are the perfect Zimbabwean combination of sweet and sad.

“The Zimbabwean fusion band open their third album with ‘Mokole’, all chiming guitars as spiky as thumb pianos, and a flute solo that could have been early Juluka, as they hymn the “smoke that thunders” of Victoria Falls…‘Kambowa’ — about the Tonga people displaced in the 1950s to make way for the Kariba dam — and ‘Vimbe’ are stripped back to choral singing and percussion,” wrote the international business daily newspaper.

The Morning star, an anti-capitalism UK-based paper, gushed over Mokoomba’s ability to showcase their culture in a world overwhelmed by globalisation.

“When identity is hard to hang on to in a world globalised by capitalism, bands like the Zimbabwean sextet Mokoomba — who affirm their culture and do it with modernity, sensitivity and aplomb — have to be shouted about from rooftops.

“Although sung mostly in their native Tonga — of the Zambezi Valley — songs in Shona, Luvale and Ndebele are also included.

“You’ll gasp with incredulity at the vocal scale and range of expression of the husky-voiced Mathias Muzaza or Trustworth Samende’s delightful guitar riffs much as the measured, intelligent instrumental and backing-vocals support from the others,” The Morning Star wrote.

Mokoomba manager, Marcus Gora, is proud of the way all members of the band contributed to the album recorded by Tami Bimha at MFD studios in Harare and mixed by Steve Dyer and Simba Moyo at Dyertribe Studio in Pretoria, South Africa.

“The new album Luyando, which means love in Tonga, is a self-produced album which allowed every band member to contribute ideas.

“It is representative of the music that Mokoomba would want to be remembered for making- a mix of traditional rhythms and storytelling with contemporary influences,” Gora told the Daily News adding that the new album “is mostly acoustic.”

“Mokoomba modified their rock-band oriented line-up to record a more raw… stripped down album that balances the group’s love of Pan-African and international sounds with the local and traditional sounds that they listened to growing up as friends in Chinotimba Township of Victoria Falls,” he said.

Songs on the new album are Mokole, Kulindiswe, Kumukanda, Luyando, Kambowa, Njawane, Muzwile, Vimbe, Mabemba and a Shona acapella song called Nyaradzo.

The new album is a follow-up to their 2009 debut album “Kweseka” and “Rising Tide (2012) which was rated as ‘one of the World’s 10 best albums of the year' by fROOTS magazine.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.