MONOSWEZI: Monoswezi Yanga

Monoswezi: Monoswezi Yanga

Monoswezi Yanga
Tugboat 1090

The second release from Monoswezi builds on their impressive debut. With a sound built on the unlikely twin foundations of Zimbabwean mbira (thumb piano) and Scandinavian jazz. Fronted by vocalist and mbira player Hope Masike, the material is a mix of traditional and original, with one common thread – the kind of delicious languor that made bossa nova such a delight. This is every bit as easy on the ear; even at their most impassioned, the pace is never more than a fast trot, and Masike’s voice has a similar seductive allure to Astrud Gilberto. The music, of course, is very different. It’s a hybrid, its feet in Africa, its head in Northern Europe, but it works, lulling, offering a hand to draw in the listener. The five-piece works well together, even if much of the recording was done while the players were at a distance. Hallvard Godal’s sax is a good foil for the voice, while some inventive percussion gives a soft bed for the sound. As multicultural fusions go, this is very powerful, each element complementing the other to create something new and very enjoyable.

Chris Nickson

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