Monoswezi: The Village (Riverboat/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Monoswezi: Kalahari
Monoswezi: The Village (Riverboat/Southbound)

Further evidence as to why, especially in the area of world music, you should never judge an album by its cover. As Elsewhere has said previously, exceptional and exciting bellydance albums usually come in covers which have photos of the kind you might see on a mechanic's garage in a Cairo suburb.

And this cover -- and the band name and album title - might suggest some African folk singer.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

This Norwegian group is the project of saxophonist/clarinet player Hallvard Godal who – with a grant from his government – lived for a year as a musician in Maputo, Mozambique.

When he went back to Oslo he put together a group of jazz musicians, and brought in Zimbabwean mbira player/singer Hope Masike and vocalist/percussionist Calu Tsemane.

So the music here is located between slightly esoteric European jazz of the ECM kind, stately minimalism, African folk (the 10 pieces are mostly rearranged traditional songs from Zimbabwe) and an intimate parlour concert.

While the fusion of different cultural influences can result in dilution, this outfit do it with integrity and respect for the source material. Proving less-is-more, the spacious arrangements allow for the simple folk melodies to sit easily with elegantly sophisticated contemporary jazz.

The warm vocals, unhurried pace (check the posted track Kalahari) and understated deployment of bells, soft percussion and acoustic bass behind the supple saxophone and clarinet make for a delightful experience.

Recommended.

Like the sound of this? Then start your further listening here

Share It

Your Comments

Jamie - Aug 12, 2013

What a lovely track. Interesting that a year in Mozambique should lead to an album of songs from Zimbabwe! Sparse is such a relief sometimes ... often nowhere near enough 'air' in music!

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Amadou and Miriam: Welcome to Mali (Warners)

Amadou and Miriam: Welcome to Mali (Warners)

Just by the sheer number of artists it produces, you'd have to say Mali seems to have -- like Jamaica -- an almost unnatural number of gifted, inventive musicians, many of whom have appeared at... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide)

Perhaps because I flatter mysef and the smarts of Elsewhere visitors, I'd like to believe the title of this 30-track download-only album (available here) through the Rough Guide imprint is just a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

KING CRIMSON IN RETROSPECT: A child's guide to early days in the kingdom

KING CRIMSON IN RETROSPECT: A child's guide to early days in the kingdom

A true story from the battleground of fun: a few fortyjust wags finishing last bottles when someone mentions an album title which reduces the gathering to choking laughter for a good two minutes.... > Read more

10 CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COVERS (2014): Making the music look good

10 CLASSIC BLUE NOTE COVERS (2014): Making the music look good

As you read this, the Blue Note record label is celebrating it's 75th anniversary. The label synonymous with classic jazz -- which went some way to defining the way people understood jazz in the... > Read more