Mama Mosambiki

Eyuphuro

Released 21 May 1990

  1. Samukhela (The Nostalgic Man)
  2. Mwanuni (The Bird)
  3. Akatswela (Love Is So Bewildering)
  4. We Awaka (You Are Mine)
  5. Kihiyene (Leave Me Alone)
  6. Nifungo (The Key Of The House)
  7. Oh Mama (Oh Mother!)
  8. Nuno Maalani (A Single Mother Of A Single Mother)

Liner notes

For most people Mozambique conjures up images of tragedy – war, famine and millions of refugees living on food aid.  The other side of this young Southern African nation, rich in art and culture, is hardly ever seen.

From the start the group’s leaders, Zena Baker and Gimo Remane, made a concerted effort to preserve the traditional rhythms of their home in Nampula.  Their birthplace, Illa de Mozambique, was one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan commercial centres and Eyuphuro’s music reflects a blend of musical influences as African traditions meet Arabic and Latin styles.  From these roots Eyuphuro write contemporary songs of love and social criticism, a sharply perceived commentary on life in Mozambique today.

Many of the songs focus upon the social and cultural backgrounds of relationships between men and women in modern Mozambique.  From one point of view the album can be seen as an attempt to deal with some of the negative attitudes of Mozambican menfolk.  Gimo Remane pleads for a woman’s heart, scorning those men who abandon their partners on any pretext (We Awake) yet emphasises the old traditions which leave a wife with nothing if a couple should divorce (Nifungo).  Zena Bakar’s philosophical view of the world, ‘olumwenku’, in the song Kihiyeny, portrays the resilience of women against the daily frustrations of society.   ‘Olumwenku’ is that part of the human condition which enables people to live with each other.

The woman-man relationship is characterised by a sequence of songs about love; such as the love she unselfishly gives to her lover (Mwanuni), to her husband (Nifungo, Nuno Maalani), to her children (Oh Mama), to society as a whole (Samukhela, Kihiyeny) and in return is rewarded by being abandoned, divorced, forgotten and ignored.

Listen

Reviews

  • Refreshingly subtle and soothing The Times (UK)
  • Bristling with tricky melodic counterpoint and shifting polyrhythms, the group's songs soothed the breast and invigorated the mind. Toronto Star (Canada)
  • With sparkling guitar style left over from Portuguese colonial days... ...the Mozambique six-piece lay laid-back melodies over spacey, lazily throbbing strings... jazzy jaunts like ‘We Awaka’ and ‘Nifungo’ shimmer with silver-tongued simplicity. NME (UK)

Further Listening

  • Rise Up

    Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited

    Released 05 June 2006

    Thomas Mapfumo was the voice of a revolution, the icon whose music soundtracked the death of Rhodesia and the birth of Zimbabwe. But, by the time he recorded Rise Up in 2006, the tables were turned, the optimism extinguished. Zimbabwean authorities now hounded Mapfumo. The folk hero was now the exile, giving him new reasons to continue singing his chiming songs of freedom.
  • Majurugenta

    Ghorwane

    Released 05 July 1993

    Out of the struggles of war Ghorwane became the new face of Mozambican pop in the early nineties: warm melodies, soulful horns and compelling dance rhythms. The band are noted for the political and social criticism in their songs which has put them, inevitably, at loggerheads with the government from time to time.

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