The Village

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Mix the cool clear tones of Scandinavia with vocals and mbira (thumb piano) from Zimbabwe and percussion and singing from Mozambique, and you end up with a very surprising disc. The beauty is in the amount of space and the way the mbira and saxophone/clarinet play off each other, as well as in the fact that the mbira, traditionally only played by men, is in the hands of a woman here, and beautifully played. At times quite eerie, as on the gently percussive "Metal Drum," it's a disc that connects the dots not only between East African and Nordic music, but also connects with the minimalism of modern classical music. At the same time it can hit a softly soulful groove with "Kalahari," two voices blending and playing off each other, building over the cyclical riffs that make up the music (in a similar fashion to Afro-beat, but without the wildness and electricity). What Monoswezi have created is a unique and intriguing fusion, and this album barely scratches the surface of possibilities. Where they take it will be fascinating.

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