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Various Artists
Music From Mozambique
Caprice Records, Sweden

cd cover
Willy and Anibal
As a study of the cultural and musical diversity of Mozambique, this CD is second to none. Recorded at various stations around Mozambique in January 2000, this release contains a wide mixture, ranging from the traditional to the most contemporary and an exploration from the north to the south of the country. For the newcomer to Mozambican music, there is an opportunity to sample the staggering array of music being performed in the country today. For those with a previous knowledge it presents an indispensable chance to hear some of the local stars, well known on the home scene yet relatively unknown internationally. This release should also serve to allay any fears that traditional music in Mozambique is a thing of the past.

David Mazembe
Tradition is well represented by several artists. Silita are a Chopi timbila group who have recorded two tracks for this CD; "Xidhilo" is a traditional piece performed with minimal but effective instrumentation and "Mawayane" is a popular composition with beautiful vocals complementing the infectious buzzing of the timbila. The Associacao Familiar de Namicopo performs tufo, the distinctive female vocal style with male percussion accompaniment, from northern Mozambique. "Bombo", a percussion based track, is an adaptation of a Makonde mapiko dance, traditionally performed during the initiation of young boys, and here performed by the group Pazedi. The harmonies sound strange, being in different keys, and do not seem to work for the track. The close links with the music of surrounding countries are in evidence in the Zimbabwean style yodeling by David Mazembe in "Urombo," the similarity to Oliver Mtukudzi of Augusto Guta and the use of the ChiNdau language, a Shona dialect.

Associação Familiar
Of a more contemporary nature, but still incorporating traditional instruments, are performances by the young group Mozafro, and the rather surreal offering of musica revolta (heavy metal) by Os Inocentes. Definite favorites are the guitar-based acts such as Augusto Guta, Djingo Mbenzane, and Duo Willy and Anibal, the latter both performing their own forms of marrabenta.

While the title might lead one to believe that all of Mozambique is musically represented on this recording, this is not the case. Most of the acts involved are from either Maputo, or the central and northern regions of Beira and Nampula respectively. The fact that it takes a seventeen-track record to illustrate the music of just three or four areas in a country the size of Mozambique gives some idea of the variety of music this country has to offer. There is definitely room for another release along similar lines, incorporating some of what was left out on this occasion. - Jennifer Byrne

Available at cdRoots

Audio samples ©2001 Caprice, Sweden, used by permission

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