Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monoswezi - The Village [Riverboat Records]

Hope Masike - vocals, mbira
Calu Tsemane - vocals, percussion
Hallvard Godal - saxophone, clarinet
Putte Johander - bass
Erik Nylander - drums, percussion

Riverboat Records / World Music Network 2013

Monoswezi is a collective that gathers together musicians from Zimbabwe and Scandinavia - quite a distance to cover on the north-south axis. Hallvard Godal stayed in 2008 in Maputo (capital of Mozambique) working as a musician and at his return Monoswezi was found and ever since is a mean to explore those inspirations. A collaboration that is based upon the value of crosscultural communication.

The music combines the traditional african melodies with cool tone of scandinavian jazz, the intricate melodic and rhythimc patterns locked in between the mbira and the saxophone. The minimalistic and subtle music brings to the mind the works of Steve Reich and Philipp Glass. The unadorned saxophone tone completes the metallic toy-like sound of mbira while the bass and percussion keeps the music on the move, flowing gently. 

One may not understand the lyrics but it's not necessary to enjoy the melodious songs. There's the feel of longing and mystery ("Kalahari"), the sorrow sadness ("Honda") but most of all there's the infinite joy and warmth which comes from faith and hope ("Nhemamsasa"). There the precious child-like openess and ability to wonder, the will to celebrate the simplest joy with a delicate laughter ("Xitimela"), at times the music sound just like children playing and dancing together ("Matue Tue"*). The whole time the strong and clear Masike's voice soothes your senses while the delicate percussion's dance makes you smile.

The Moswezi's music is fresh and heartwarming like the first rays of sun. It warms your body and fills your heart with hope. 

some tracks from the cd are presented in this radio playlist.

* matter-of-factly, as I've read after in the liner notes, the song is based on the actual play song Ronga from Mozambique.

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