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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: May 29 2011 »

By Shamiso Yikoniko
MOKOOMBA means the vibrant life that the Zambezi River provides to the Tonga people through water and fish. The musical group’s storyline is one of diversity and determination as their fortune is not showing any signs of waning just like the mighty Zambezi River.
Despite coming from one of Zimbabwe’s smallest towns, Victoria Falls, singing in a minority language, a language foreign to even their own fellow countrymen, these young men have never been dissuaded from their dream of making music.
Abundance Mutori, the bass guitarist in Mokoomba, explains their musical journey and what their current position means to the BaTonga people and to them as individuals.
“We came up with the group Mokoomba in 2006. In 2007, we heard about Music Crossroads then we really got serious with rehearsals so that we could come up with something solid so that we could win the competition,” said Mutori.
He says that winning the Music Crossroads competition has been part of their dream as a group which has seen them reaching greater heights than they expected, making the Tonga people proud.
With no form of musical education and basing their hope on natural talent, Mokoomba scooped the first prize at the 2008 Inter-Regional Music Crossroads festival in Malawi.
They went on to win the Africa Unsigned auditions and a trip to the Netherlands.
“Our international, regional and local tours have been a spiritual journey for us. We feel that we have been given a chance to define who we are and I can proudly say on behalf of my fellow band members that we have managed to find ourselves,” said Mutori.
Mokoomba define their music as afro-fusion because it has its deep roots in the African music, where Tonga traditional drums are fused with modern instruments.
One of their significant musical instruments is the “ngoma mupita” which is a traditional Tonga drum.
The youthful Tonga band has since recorded their first album called Kweseka, which has a Tonga meaning of drifting ahead and has been well received locally and internationally.
The song Messe-Messe, already being played on Holland’s largest urban radio station called FunX, has been a huge success.
Mathias Bangure, the director for Music Crossroads, described the musical outfit as one of its kind that has managed to produce music with an international appeal.
“They are brilliant and I can foresee a great future ahead of them. For them, the sky is not the limit but themselves,” he said.
Mokoomba mainly uses Tonga, Nyanja and Lubale in their music, however, in some cases they also use Ndebele and Venda. They are currently working on their second album, which they said should be out soon.
Mokoomba is made up six band members, the eldest being 26 and the youngest aged 21. Mathias Muzaza is on vocals and percussion, Trustworth Samende on lead guitar, Reason Muleya on shakers, Costa Ndaba Moyo on drums and Miti Mugande on keyboards.
The group’s songs are derived from traditional Tonga songs and some of them they write on their own. Their songs relate to social ills, the HIV and Aids pandemic, love and other issues.
They made their second appearance at the just-ended Hifa in collaboration with Mathias Julius, a multi-talented dancer, in which they put up an interesting show of Zimbabwean reggae and Tonga dance rhythm.
In most cases, they are wrongly identified as a West African musical outfit because of their usage of minority languages and the prowess and vigour they show during their shows.

Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:00 Local News
source: http://www.zimpapers.co.zw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3139%3Amokoomba-giving-batonga-a-voice&catid=38%3Alocal-news&Itemid=131
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