Dilon Djindji
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Dilon Djindji
Riverboat Records (www.worldmusic.net)

cd cover While, at the age of 75, the majority of his peers will be quite settled into retired life, Dilon Djindji is just beginning an entirely new phase in his career, and arguably his most triumphant yet. "Dilon" is his first international solo release, although he has been around the block several times in the recent past as a member of Mabulu, Mozambique's most successful band in years. Summer 2002 witnessed a tour of Europe, and anyone who experienced the shows will know that Dilon's contribution is a major element in their achievement. Often cited as one of the founding fathers of Mozambique's main urban form, marrabenta, Djindji could have opted to rely on his laurels, to mirror the antique-restoration exercise of, for example, the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon. On the contrary, this record is very much a product of 2002, a soundtrack for a whole new generation and an entirely new global audience.

Dilon is an acoustic marrabenta album, probably the first of its kind, but it still manages to capture the energy and sun kissed vibe of this guitar-led, rhythm-specific genre. "Hilwe-Wa Santi" is a perfect illustration of the very best of marrabenta, where minimal instrumentation heightens the punching power of surely one of the catchiest guitar hooks around. Djindji's voice is regularly complemented by the sweet harmonies of Mabulu vocalist Chonyl. In fact, her singing on this album is probably her best yet, unquestionably her most confident; look no further than "Chantima Maria." Orlando da Conceicao's sax lends a South African flavour to the blend on tracks such as "Maria Rosa." But Dilon is this album's greatest joy. His humour is irrepressible, his spirit indefatigable, both belying a sensitivity and depth which surface only occasionally, on quieter moments such as "Badanile." The Djindji star is just beginning to rise in what should be the autumn of Dilon's days. The sky is the limit. - Jennifer Byrne

Available at cdroots.com

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