Mokoomba, the Zimbabwean powerhouse, returns to North American stages this spring with their diverse and electrifying music. The group, as our own Banning Eyre describes them, is “the most impressive band Zimbabwe has produced in recent memory.”
They are led by the powerful and versatile voice of Mathias Muzaza, as fiery and crystalline as Salif Keita in one moment, and gritty like a dancehall singer in another. The members of Mokoomba are from the Tonga minority of Zimbabwe, unlike most of the musical stars to come out of the country (Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi). While they do draw on Tonga rhythms and melodies, their reach is global: absorbing and recreating music from across the African diaspora and beyond with their own bright and passionate flair. The groups stands comfortably—expertly, in fact—in Congolese soukous, reggae, Latin grooves, Shona music à la Mapfumo, South African isicathamiya, and funky rap. Their energy is infectious, their sound staggeringly skillful, and their forthcoming album Luyando will undoubtedly be no different.
Mokoomba’s tour begins at the Apollo Theater in Harlem this coming Saturday (March 26) as part of the Africa Now! concert, and continues through the East Coast and Canada. Mokoomba is positively not a group to miss.