Mokoomba – Luyando

Album Review | Out Here Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The soulful second album release by Zimbabwe’s six-piece outfit Mokoomba and follow up to their 2012 debut Rising Tide, takes us on a musical journey through the traditions and customs of the Chinotimba Township of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe along the Zambezi River. The self-produced album Luyando, which translates to ‘mother’s love’ incorporates the highly infectious traditional rhythms mixed with soukous, ska and salsa, delivered not only in their native Tonga, but also in Shona, Luvale and Ndebele, not to mention a little English, notably on the refrain of the album opener “Mokole”. Mokoomba’s trump card is in the voice of lead singer Mathias Muzaza, whose occasional soulful rasp is at time reminiscent of the vocal timbre of both Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye; utterly youthful and immediately captivating. Mokoomba, a name which literally means having a deep respect of the river, demonstrate a passion for their native music and have the drive and ability to take it to the further reaches of the world, without losing any of its power and spirit along the way. Their Ladysmith Black Mambazo-inspired “Nyaradzo”, which closes the album, places the singers right at the heart of their African roots. Playful, sincere and highly listenable.