ZIMBABWE | An exhilarating ride on a Zimbabwean roller coaster
An exhilarating ride on a Zimbabwean roller coaster
African music was in it’s prime here in the nineties, but lately few artists have broken through internationally. Luckily we have Mokoomba, from Zimbabwe. The group played major festivals like Roskilde and Sziget, got invited to Later with Jools Holland, and gave an unforgettable performance at New York’s Apollo Theater.
The six-headed band surrounding Mathias Muzaza – a charismatic figurehead with a poignantly clear-cut voice – was founded in 2007 in Victoria Falls, right around the corner from the famous waterfall. Their afro-fusion is irresistible, especially live. Just about every style makes an appearance: modern “Zimrock,” South-African soul and gospel, Nigerian afrobeat, and Congolese soukous. But also funk, (jazz-)rock, latin, hip hop, ska, reggae, and dancehall. The end result is an extremely exhilarating Zimbabwean roller coaster ride. Aside from English the group also sings in multiple Zimbabwean languages. The band’s name, signifying “deep respect for the river,” is an ode to the Zambezi.
The way Mokoomba’s music energizes the dance floor wasn’t lost on Dutch dj Gregor Salto: he collaborated with the group on Messe messe, an international floorfiller. Mokoomba’s beautiful latest album Luyando contains raw, largely acoustic songs, although it’s still dance music. You can tell how close the band is from the fact that they performed at Music Meeting once before, seven years ago (when they were still relatively unknown), with the exact same formation.
Mathias Muzaza – vocals, percussion
Trustworth Samende – guitar, vocals
Donald Moyo - keyboards, vocals
Abundance Mutori – bass, vocals
Ndaba Coster Moyo – drums, vocals
Miti Mugande – percussion, vocals