10YearsOfHope : Monoswezi

Let me tell you a bit about the Norwegian trans-cultural outfit I have been playing with for the past seven years.

In a recent preview of the latest album, The Guardian called Monoswezi’s music ‘an Afro-Nordic oddity’! …, oddity. Very nice! Then the album was released recently, and other reviews have called it ‘a cool sonic explorations from a Scandinavian-African fusion’.

Generally speaking, yes, Monoswezi is a together-blend of some African and Scandinavian music cultures, with African languages taking centre stage, while some of Africa’s most celebrated instruments, such as the Mbira (played by yours truly, Hope Masike), Djembe (played by a Mozambician percussionist, Calu Tsemane) and- recently added on the third album- the Ngoni (played by Malian musician, Sidiki Camara) also shine. Scandinavian influences are mostly heard in the form of Scandinavian Jazz influences with double bass played by  Swedish musician, Putte Johander; drums by a Erik Nylander, Swedish drummer; and a variety of wind instruments played by Hallvard Godal, Norwegian. On the third album, a banjo, played by yet another Norwegian, Kim Johannesen is added.

Monoswezi is an accronym derived from the countries of origin of the band members ;MO-Mozambique, NO-Norway, SWE-Sweden and ZI- Zimbabwe. It was formed over a decade ago but I joined it in 2011, that year I spent in Norway teaching Mbira and Marimba.

I have played quite a lot with Monoswezi, travelling across Europe and a bit of Asia while at it. We have had a lot of fun.

Monoswezi has three albums I am a part of, The Village, released in 2012; Monoswezi Yanga, released in 2015 and A Je, released this July of 2017. All albums are released under Riverboat Label and available in online stores.

As Monoswezi has been such a fun and influential part of my career for the past seven years, 10YearsOfHope shall have a chapter on Monoswezi. It will also feature some of our videos that have done well, including the recent one that was shot in India.

Exciting, isn’t it?