Zimbabwe’s celebrated young band Mokoomba return to The Apex, on October 24, with their mix of pan-African styles and Tonga rhythms and have propelled themselves into the vanguard of fresh new talent emerging from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe was once the powerhouse of African popular music, with artists such as Bhundu Boys and Black Umfolosi.
Now, following in their footsteps, Mokoomba have been hailed as the most impressive band the country has produced in recent memory.
Mokoomba hail from a small village on the Zambezi River in the Victoria Falls region, named after the spectacular waterfall and home to the Tonga-speaking minority.
The members of Mokoomba started playing music as teenagers with the help of a local bandleader, the late Alfred Mijimba, who gave the boys experience by hiring them to play local concerts with his band. Mijimba was a respected local musician, and the members of Mokoomba gained substantial experience under his direction.
In 2009 Mokoomba recorded their first album, ‘Kweseka – Drifting Ahead’, which generated a local hit ‘Messe Messe’, and the group’s first European tour, a second EP, ‘Umvundla’ followed in 2011. But their big break came in 2012, when the band released ‘Rising Tide’ which intrigued and surprised music critics across the globe, featuring in 2012 Best of lists in the likes of The Guardian and fRoots and winning Songlines Magazine’s Best Newcomer Award. The success of Rising Tide led Mokoomba to tour over 40 countries worldwide, including performances at WOMAD festival, Denmark’s Roskilde festival and Morocco’s Gnawa festival.
Mokoomba have become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular bands, playing with such icons as Hugh Masekela and Baba Maal at Zimbabwe’s annual Harare International Festival of the Arts.