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Special Guest: Jordan Taylor Hill


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Recently inducted into the Afropop Worldwide Hall of Fame, Zimbabwe’s greatest musical export sets dance floors ablaze with their unique mix of Tonga, Soukous, contemporary Afro fusion, and ska-inflected music.  

Mokoomba from Zimbabwe played their first-ever US show here at Music Haven in 2014 – then took the world by storm.


Six players and singers, Mokoomba hails from Victoria Falls where Zimbabwe and Zambia meet. It’s the perfect place to make spirited international music that echoes the world’s largest waterfall for sheer sonic power. The 2010 documentary film Mokoomba: From One River Bank to Another profiles the band, whose name pays tribute to the Zambezi River.


Mokoomba's powerful music flows through many cultural traditions including American soul-funk, Caribbean reggae and central African soukous, the rumba-based dance music of the Congo. Hearty call and response chants unite their voices like lively choirs, in English, Luvale, Tonga, Nyanja, Ndebele and Shona. Their playing packs the airy-guitar-with-zippy-beats punch of 1980s Afro-pop, but they modernize it with both acoustic and electric sounds.


They formed in the mid- to late-2000s and went professional in 2008 when a smash performance at a festival in Malawi earned them a European tour and led to their first album “Kweseka” (2009). Three more followed: “Rising Tide” (2012), “Luyando” (2017), and the new “Tusona” subtitled “May our tracings in the sand not fade.”


From the first, their music reached past dance-floor escapism to focus hope on such societal challenges as public health and economic crises. And, from the first, international festivals have showcased their mighty music and moral messages including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Africa Now! Festival at New York’s Apollo Theater, Nuits d’Afrique festival in Montreal, Lollapalooza, the WOMAD World Music Festival and others across Europe and Asia. 


All six band members sing. Mokoomba is Mathias Muzaza, lead vocals and percussion; Trustworth Samende, guitar; Tinotenda Zingapeta, bass; Phathisani Moyo, keyboard; Ddaba Coster Moya, drums; and Miti Mugande, percussion.


International honors include multiple Songlines and Afro-Pop Awards, including induction into the Afropop Worldwide Hall of Fame; but remember – the Mokooma story began its international chapter right where you are sitting and dancing tonight!


Special Guest: Jordan Taylor Hill

Proving that international music can grow anywhere, Albany-based West African drummer and educator Jordan Taylor Hill performs tonight’s opening set with a hand-picked troupe of percussionists and dancers he trains in Afro-pop tradition.

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