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ClassicsOnline Home » MOZAMBIQUE Various: Afro-Pop
By Mansha Daswani
"For Afro-pop newbies, this is an excellent introduction to the genre. Mozambique Relief features some of Mozambique's most renowned recording artists, including Ghorwane, Stewart Sukuma and Gito Baloi. On the more accessible end of world music, Mozambique Relief fuses traditional African rhythms with pop, soul and jazz. Highlights include Zebra's Tiyisselane, a phenomenal African jazz track, and the Latin undercurrents of Jose Mucavele's Lanixlamalissa. Released by the world music imprint of Hong Kong-based HNH International, proceeds from this Hong Kong-led initiative will go to victims of the floods that devastated Mozambique earlier this year."
By Stephen Chan
Audiophile ( *translated from Chinese)
"During the production of this CD, Mozambique was in the midst of torrent and floods. Now thanks to the Naxos label, proceeds from the sale of this album will go to assisting the country recover from this disaster, hence the CD title "Mozambique Relief." Although this CD is for a charitable cause, the song subjects do not all concern themselves with the flood or its effect. Rather, there are musical and commercial considerations.
The eleven tracks are recorded in Maputo, Mozambique, with the help of a well-equipped mobile recording van that was driven across the country. The indigenous music is played with mainly Western instruments, but all the various kinds of drums are African. Many other instruments, like sax, trumpet, keyboard, guitar and percussion, abound in the music. Of course every single number is highly rhythmic - light, hard, fast, jumpy - and played in a variety of ways. The arrangements are very rich, striving for an almost rustic rural sound, conjuring a spellbinding African beat that will hypnotize your body to move. You can find solid rhythms, and charming melodies from the brasses, keyboard and guitar. In addition, the vocals are enchanting, sounding so natural and relaxed that you will want to sit back and throw all the hassles in your life to the back of your mind. To me, the best part of the CD is its rhythm, which is not over-done, supported delicate arrangement. Together with the voices, the simple tunes of Africa have been given a modern touch."
A portion of the proceeds of Mozambique Relief will go to Oxfam for aid, reconstruction and development projects in Mozambique.
Recorded in Maputo, Mozambique in April 2000, this collection of southern African music brings together some of Mozambique's best musicians for a benefit record in aid of rebuilding and helping victims of the country's flooding disaster.
The devastating floods and cyclones that hit Mozambique between February and early April were the worst in 40 years. It affected 4.5 million people (27% of the total population) and a million people lost everything. About this time, Finnish musician Eero Koivistoinen was suppose to travel to a village in the Zavala district and make a field recording with a timbila ensemble for Naxos World. But with the disaster making the project impossible at the time, he and Naxos World executive Andrew Sun drew up a new plan.
Koivistoinen had worked with Ghorwane, the most famous band to come out of Mozambique (they had recorded an album for Peter Gabriel's Real World label) and their leader Joao Carlos Schwalbach rounded up other artists in the local music community in Maputo, Mozambique. The result is an inspired and solid set of Afro-pop music made by artists from the community, but more significantly a portion of the proceeds from this recording will come back to help the country.
As Koivistonen explains, "Every musician involved understood the importance of the matter. There was a possibility of helping to rebuild the country, because the profits from the record would come back to Mozambique through Oxfam. In this respect, the project is unique: the Mozambicans can help themselves."
Of the participating acts, Ghorwane is indeed the best known and most respected band in Mozambique. They contribute three tracks to the CD, 'Mayvavo' (two versions) and 'Wavitika.' José Mucavele is an outstanding composer who was previously with Grupo Radio Mocambique. Stewart Sukuma (originally Louis Pereira) is Mozambique's most popular male vocalist, who is very active in social activities too. His debut album Afrikiti on in 1997 received global critical attention and a portion of the proceeds from that CD goes to an environmental organisation and he himself is actively involved in AIDS Relief programmes. Gito Baloi was born in Mozambique but now lives in Johannesburg. His song 'Danca Marrabenta' is based on a popular urban dance rhythm in Mozambique. The Marrabenta rhythm is a similar to Latin American salsa and merengue. Projecto Africa is a new band whose members are very won the first price in a competition for young artists. This is their recording debut. The lyrics for 'Matxutxubanga' are based on a children's game common in Mozambique. Lastly, Zebra formed specifically for the track 'Tiyisselane.' The song was composed by Eero Koivistoinen when news of the catastrophe was first brought to the world's attention on TV. 'Tiyisselane' means "Be strong."
The intensive recording session was made in three days in the living room of local residents, Elia, Myriam and Iwan Irawan. The South African Broadcasting Corporation loaned the use of a mobile studio van, which engineers Eugene Pretorius and Kevin Starbuck drove from Johannesburg to Maputo. Keyboard player Seppo Kantonen joined Koivistoinen journeying from Finland to Maputo, and supplied his talents on many of the tracks. Final touches and mixing was done in South Africa by Peter Pearlson and in Finland.
A portion of the proceeds of Mozambique Relief will go to Oxfam for aid, reconstruction and development projects in Mozambique. This project is sponsored in part by the Optiroc Group (Finland) and the Mozambican-Finnish Development Co-operation Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
1. Mayvavo by Ghorwane (4:18)
2. Matxutxubanga by Projecto Africa (3:41)
3. Wavitika by Ghorwane (4:03)
4. Goleheani by José Mucavele (4:37)
5. Tiyisselane by Zebra (4:00)
6. Xitarato by Projecto Africa (4:42)
7. Lanixlamalissa by José Mucavele (6:31)
8. Kadivé Mono by Stewart Sukuma (4:24)
9. Danca Marrabenta by Gito Baloi (3:02)
10. As Tuas Tranças by José Mucavele (3:06)
11. Mayvavo II by Ghorwane (7:15)
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MOZAMBIQUE Various: Afro-Pop