Magazine article New Internationalist

(Ghorwane. Majurugenta)

Magazine article New Internationalist

(Ghorwane. Majurugenta)

Article excerpt

If Mozambique still lacks a presence in modern African music it's not for want of talent. Ghorwane -- the name comes from a lake that, even in the hottest season, never runs dry -- prove that. Majurugenta is their first commercial release: recorded in 1991, two years in the can has done nothing to reduce its vivacity.

Ghorwane were formed in 1983, in the thick of the bitter war that followed Portugal's cession of the former colony in 1975, and their own history is inextricably tied to the volatile politics of their homeland. Band members oscillated between the group and the army while their chief and prolific writer, Jose 'Zeca' Alage, was murdered earlier this year - the motive for the murder was not political but it reflects the social turmoil endemic in Mozambique.

Ghorwane take an unblinkered look at their society. The Alage - penned opening track - Muthimba -- uses a traditional lament which speaks of the rigours of war. In Buluku ('Trousers') they sing that some women have resorted to prostitution to get clothing. Mavabwyl ('Illness') remembers those dying in hospitals where medicines are rare: the implicit message is that the Frelimo government is too busy fighting the Renamo rebels to provide for its population. …

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