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Monoswezi

The Village

(Riverboat; US: 28 Jan 2013; UK: 29 Jan 2013)

On paper this is a north European jazz band—the founder/saxophonist is Norwegian, the band has received financial support from the Norsk kulturråd—but the lead singer Hope Masike comes from Mozambique and southern Africa is the music’s muse, kept very cool by the jazz-brass, which lingers around her while she makes reckless instinctive-sounding moves from one note into another. This lingering affects her too, she’s slower than she could be, her reckless style teases itself against the instruments, she plays a Shona pattern on her mbira, and her voice gives the music a prickly kind of rebellious life. This sound of a naturally fast impulse, the jump between hum and high “Aow!” the warmth of her smiling delivery, being drawn out by this communal icy-cool focus, is wonderful and delicate.

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