MOKOOMBA: Zimbabwean Afro groove maestros deliver new album

MOKOOMBA: Zimbabwean Afro groove maestros deliver new album

By Agencies

Zimbabwean ensemble Mokoomba, celebrated for their Afro grooves grounded in their traditional roots, has returned after five years with their album Tusona: Tracings in the Sand.

This follow-up to Luyando embodies a danceable spirit. It was recorded independently in Zimbabwe and features the mighty horns of Ghanaian highlife group Santrofi.

Amidst the pandemic, Mokoomba crafted Tusona within Zimbabwe, embracing a distinctive sound that amalgamates their cumulative experiences.

The result is a much more modern recording that combines acoustic and electric instruments. Notably, in response to fervent fan demand, they reimagined three songs from their prior acoustic album Luyando, transforming them into dancehall anthems.

The album narrates themes of love, resilience, and societal transformation. “Nzara Hapana,” the lead single, delves into a man’s quest to shield his family from greed, while “Nyansola” praises the harvest goddess. Mokoomba employs various local languages (Tonga, Luvale, Shona, Nyanja and Lingala), weaving a linguistic tapestry that encompasses their diverse influences.



The album’s title, Tusona, honors tradition, reflecting ancient Luvale initiation symbols drawn in sand. The Makisi masquerade, a crucial element of Mukanda initiation, also holds cultural significance.

Mokoomba’s musical wellspring stems from these communal gatherings, listening to and playing pure traditional music with everyone in the township. They later add influences from music that they listened to in their homes growing up, and the sounds experienced while travelling around the world.



Lead singer Mathias Muzaza’s connection with ancestral spirits shines through his emotive and soulful vocals, harmoniously combined with Trust Samende’s superb guitar lines inspired by Zimbabwean music as well as Congolese rumba.

The fusion of regional styles with contemporary dance beats characterizes Mokoomba’s distinctive musical fusion. This synthesis is vividly captured by the album’s cover art, crafted by Zimbabwean artist Lomedy Mhako.

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