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This multi-generational, multi-ethnic Mozambiquan band play polished, guitar-driven grooves layered with swelling vocal harmonies and jazzy sax passages. The sound has links with South African music, as well as with the chiming, chattering guitar parts and precise, punchy bass lines of Zimbabwean pop and Congolese soukous. But Mozambique’s own stamp is also omnipresent in distinctive polyrhythmic grooves that merge 4/4 and 6/8 time.

Mozambiquan pop has a lulling, oceanic ambiance that goes down easy even when the music is complex. Topical themes abound: AIDS; the effects of war on children; the story of a baby born in a tree during Mozambique’s 1999 floods. And Mabulu’s conversation between generations is a kick. Seventysomething Lisboa Matavel and Dilon Djindji are veterans of the country’s colonial-era marrabenta sound, but they mix it up here with young voices like those of Nené and Chonyl, whose sweet melodies sometimes channel the young Miriam Makeba, and Chiquito, who raps in Portuguese. When all these elements come together, as on Dilon Djindji’s feature "Ulombe/Honey," it’s pure magic.


Issue Date: November 29 - December 6, 2001

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