Ghorwane - Vana-Va-Ndota
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cd cover Ghorwane
Milan Records (

Named for a lake in their home country that reportedly never runs dry, Mozambique's Ghorwane have been carrying on for 20 years now. Interestingly, their sound doesn't bear much resemblance to that of music from other such former Portuguese colonies as Angola or Cape Verde. Rather, they go for a more streamlined, pan-African pop feel. And since their songs address such universal issues as war, ethnic and class disparities, the cycle of violence and the ups and downs of progress, the inclusive approach works. This album won't take your ears by storm; it makes it's mark with the same kind of low-key charms you might expect from, say, Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi. The rhythms have a delicate but insistent pull to them, framing keyboard and horn accents that show the influence of jazz and Latin music also heard in the shifting drum, percussion and bass foundation. Despite moments that veer close to a smooth jazz kind of glossiness, the simple strength of the grooves can be counted on to save the day along with the confessional quality of Roberto Chitsonzo's lead vocals and some aching support singing from the band. Ghorwane are known as the "Good Guys" of Mozambique, and their music makes the reasons clear- it's full of heart, spirit and an obvious love for the country and continent that spawned it. This is African music that runs more warm than hot and is strong and inviting as a result. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdroots

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