By Tawanda Mudzonga
Published August 28, 2013
Music lovers in Harare are in for the ultimate, one-of-a-kind, musical experience on August 29, 2013 when legendary band-in-the-making, Mokoomba, bring their electrifying show back to Book Café fresh from their successful European tour.The six-member ensemble are specialists in a spine-tingling mix of musical genres that has brought them praise from all corners of the globe. Book Café welcomes back this extraordinary band from Victoria Falls for an outstanding evening of fun, opening with Gweru Afro-fusion band, Nehoreka.
There is no doubt that Mokoomba’s infectious rhythms and captivating stage performance have won over Harare audiences and music lovers all over the world. The passion and enthusiasm the band have for their craft is translated into every musical note and word sung by charismatic lead singer, Mathias Muzaza. Mokoomba’s latest album, Rising Tide, that was released in 2012, was voted one of the top three World Music albums of 2012 by The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Mokoomba first came to prominence when they won the regional competition, Music Crossroads, in 2008. This prize gave them the opportunity to record their first album, Kweseka which means ‘drifting ahead’ in Tonga, drawing on the river imagery of the Zambezi Valley. Their second album, Rising Tide, continued this powerful Zambezi river imagery, showing their increasing confidence in their work, and the effect they have had on music enthusiasts all over the world.
Rising Tide was produced by former Zap Mama band member, Manou Gallo, and it was recorded in Harare, Belgium and Ivory Coast, adding a clear local influence from each geographic location.
In 2011, Mokoomba released the EP, Umvundla, which means rabbit in Ndebele. Umvundla is a heart-pumping, infectious collection of tracks produced by Dutch DJ Gregor Salto. Featuring club-remixes seamlessly married to their trademark Tonga rhythms, the EP shows the group’s diversity and range, demonstrating how they have managed to capture such a huge international following. This winning combination came together with a popular performance at Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in 2012 with Gregor Salto. The title track, Umvundla, is a powerful blend of Ndebele vocals, rhythmic conga and techno beats.
The band have been on four European tours in the past four years, and have just returned to Zimbabwe from their latest tour where they performed at festivals in Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Hungary and at the prestigious WOMAD festival in the UK. They were also chosen to be the grand finale show at HIFA in 2013, expanding and cementing their reputation as arguably Zimbabwe’s best band in the last decade.
This dynamic band have had numerous opportunities to experiment with their sound. This is one of their strengths and shows their constant evolution and willingness to try new things to develop their music. An important part of this has been performing at the Book Café. Since the band was formed in 2007, Book Cafe has been one of their regular show venues in Harare where they have a dedicated following. The venue is intimate, and the acoustics allow lead singer Muzaza’s captivating vocals to soar to full effect.
Mokoomba are set to perform back-to-back with Afro-fusion band, Nehoreka. The evening promises to be a ‘rising tide’ of fearless music and spectacular showmanship from the band from Victoria Falls who have taken the international and local music scene by storm.