Mozambique is the longest country in Africa and has a correspondingly wide range of cultures and music. The area below the Zambezi is commonly referred to as ‘Southern Mozambique.' The Zambezi valley divides the primarily matrilineal peoples of the North from the patrilineal peoples of the South. It also marks the Southern limit of Swahili or Arab influence. In the South, two of the four people who remained unconquered by the Zulu were the Chopi and the Gitonga. Central Mozambique is bound with Shona speaking Zimbabwe and ‘Munhumutapa' kingdoms. Musically the Nyungwe belong with the heptatonic, instrumentally rich Shona musical family, whilst Southern Mozambique has a typically hexatonic music culture. Maputo is growing. There are a lot of new buildings popping up. The new bridge linking Maputo mainland and Katembe Island, under construction, will provide a new road route from Durban to Maputo and increase the movement of people considerably.
Marrabenta the musical symbol of Maputo is enjoying a new golden age with three generations of musicians supported by a year-long festival initiative. Rocking the beaches of Maputo 2017 In Marracuene the festival starts with the traditional music and drums. The marrabenta festival combines with local businesses in various areas of Mozambique who provide facilities for the festival as it passes through. These facilities remain for a month after the festival for the local community to use. The festival is also linked into a permanent marrabenta studio in Maputo that puts out several albums a year. The studio has the intention of building audiences for marrabenta music. Even older musicians who didn't have a band, were recorded and produced and then made popular through album launches and features on marrabenta compilations. The live recordings of the festival will be mixed and mastered into a compilation album. And the compilation for the ten years of marrabenta music will be released on the 25 th of June, independence day, with an all-day event in Maputo. The major attraction is the festival on Costa de Sol beach of Maputo which combines exclusive showcases where audiences enjoy the water, the sun and the music all at the same time, and a massive free concert sponsored by national television, which attracted 35 000 people. Stewart Sukuma says, Marrabenta was born in the 50s as a peri-urban dance rhythm. Then it became a music rhythm. Since then a lot of musicians have been marrying with this rhythm. It is a national rhythm born in the Maputo province. Marrabenta is a symbol. It is one of the facts that unite people and brings people together, musidcians from different generations. Who come to see it and dance. It is a very vibrant kind of music. Colourful and all the stories around the marrabenta is about the daily lives of the people. Problems like domestic fights. You have beautiful stories and also talking about problems, Marrabenat for us is almost everything. All my music there is a little bit of marrabenta in it. The others I do is entirely marrabenta. The festival is a place once in a year the producers bring all the marrabenta musicians, together, and the other musicians who are influenced by marrabenta. We are all trying very hard to keep it going because we need this festival. This is the right place, close to the beach. People can enjoy a lot of things at the same time. They can enjoy the festival, the water, the sun and the music. Next year should be the same place Costa de Sol, as long as we have the responsibility to clean everything after the concert. We have to be responsible. I am in the middle generation. We have the new generation. I am the middle generation and we have the older generation. For 3 days we are going around to Marracuene, Maputo, Gaza sometimes, we have been performing in Beira at the festival. The 3 generations are melting together. A couple of bands have joint ventures. Marrabenta is a unity music that puts the generations together, not only musicians, but dancers and people who do theatre pieces … Interview Paulo “Litho” Sithoe There was a gap in Moz in terms of Marrabenta. Marrabenta is one of our symbols. When I finished my studies and trainings I came back to Mozambique and was with a friend of ours and said, what can we do about this? We started very simple in joining a heritage celebration in marrabenta into a music event that upgraded to the marrabenta festival. Now it is a music festival and the main style is marrabenta. We started to preserve the marrabenta music, bring back the musicians; everyone we have grown up listening to and bring them back to the stage. In the beginning we started like that. And then we upgraded the performances doing collaborations mixing ages and styles. When we did 5 years we start bringing an international act to the festival – the most influential musiciansfor the marrabenta in the golden ages 70s, 80s. People who did a lot of collaborations from SA, Angola and Brazil – they came here to recreate what it was. I have all the possible support from minister of tourism and culture. This is a new challenge, creating an environment like this: first one on the beach and first one of this size. 3 day event with one free event and two paid. We build a relationship. We build a marrabenta studio in Maputo. We build it to crate the audiences to bring the musicians back to the stage with good live performances. Even older musicians who didn't have a band – we put them there. We do album launches, we do marrabenta compilations. The launch of the event is a main event at the beginning of the summer. We launch different albums. The sound engineer Phillip is recording the musicians. We record live and do albums for them. Each of those albums we take one song and do a compilation. The compilation for the 10 years will be released on the 25 th of June, independence day. Marrabenta? It is confusing people with the new urban music of Moz. The range of marrabenta is so big. There is a lot of influence of other types of Mozambican music. That makes it difficult to define. But it also makes it possible to have a large spectrum of musicians at the festival. This is our last destination. We start with the free train that goes for one hour from downtown Maputo to Marracuene. It is 1000 seats free train. When we arrive there we have the local business in Marracuene that build their own infrastructures. And we have a stage there and all the facilities and it stay until now. And then we come back here. If we join what is happening there and here it is a lot. One of the proposals from the municipality is we need to switch how this thing is; join the craft area and the fish market. So we will not need to have a lot of food facilities here. We are going to upgrade what is happening at the fish market and the craft market together. We will see all the public facilities like toilets and tap water installed in this area. This year we are using portable ones. – Next year it won't be. There was no electricity in this area. Because of the festival we brought it across the streets. Now there are lights here. The vision is to create a prime tourist destination in Moz. So that you can have a live experience of the best of Mozambique: through the train to Marracuene to see something more deep in the soul of Mozambicans. And in Marracuene the festival starts with the traditional music and drums and everything. Until you arrive on the stage: from traditional drummers to marrabenta music. I want to do the best of Mozambique which is beautiful beaches, food and good music that can make you want to come to Moz.
The festival began in April 2012. Originally the idea was to create a route from Cape Town International Jazz Festival but that didn't materialise so MoreJazz Series edition 1 was born as a stand-alone event featuring Najee, the smooth jazz saxophonist from US and his band and The Moreira Project. 350 people attended the opening night at the Polana Ballroom, and 800 people on the second night at Coconuts. Najee penned a song ‘MAFALALA' after a suburb of Maputo that he visited and it appeared on his latest album. In August 2012, Morejazz managed the stage at the international trade fair (FACIM) at Marracuene which featured Manu Dibango and a crowd of 35 000. The collaboration with FACIM continued for 2013 and 2014 with events in Marracuene, Polana and at the Port of Maputo. In 2015 the event moved to Polana with a capacity attendance of 850 people and the outdoor venue, Jat 5 with 4500 people in attendance. 2016 the events is at the Polana marquee and Port of Maputo. A key factor of Morejazz is the showcase of local talent. The Khanimambo project pays respect to Mozambican musicians, whilst visiting musicians are all involved in workshops at the University of Eduardo Mondlane. Morejazz has a significant effect on the economy with spin offs for hotels, markets, restaurants, and job opportunities for production crew, and freelance students. The current minister of Culture, an artist himself, is very aware of the importance of festivals such as Morejazz on the creative economy.In 2016 Morejazz consulted on the National Cultural Festival in Beira. All provinces have cultural festivals during the year and there is a concerted effort underway to try and create a centralised mechanism to promote these regional festivals to tourists and lovers of culture. October is Morejazz month in Maputo with a resident photographic exhibition at the Polana Hotel, open air movie nights on a Wednesday evening with a music or jazz theme in the gardens of the Polana and jazz sessions on a Thursday on the verandah. Chonguiça says, "Maputo is a melting pot of so may different styles that it is difficult to define a sound. But it has a unique cultural energy unlike any other city on the continent. Through all its struggles and difficulties, there is always music and dance and art on show somewhere in the city" One of the biggest influences is the Fado, a style of Portuguese folk music which is still hugely popular in Mozambique. European jazz from Portuguese musicians such as Mario Laginha and Maria Joao from Portugal who performed last year at Morejazz is very popular in Mozambique and very well supported. There are also big Brazilian influences in Mozambique which also have a bearing on the music."
Magical Inhambane Zavala Tofo
The tropical 3000km coastline of Mozambique has always attracted many visitors. Ilha de Mozambique in Nampula in the North is a world heritage site documenting the early meeting of Arab and African culture and trade.
Inhambane on the coast of Mozambique is the most visited province in the country with one million visitors annually, lured primarily by the pristine oceans and the resident marine megafauna in the oceans of Tofo. Tofo, situated 450 kilometres up the North coast of Mozambique can be accessed by road from Maputo with a daily bus, or the international airport in the nearby town Inhambane. An enormous number of visitors from all over the world come to Tofo to scuba, snorkel and swim with the unique underwater creatures One of the longest running business in Tofo, Fatima's Nest which has been bringing visitors to the area since 1989, contributes directly to social upliftment through developing talent and supporting local orphanages and old age homes. The indigenous people of that region are the Chopi people. Their cultural expression – the timbila musical instrument – is an iconic symbol representing all of Mozambique. Interview with director of the casa de cultuur in Ihambane, Abel Afonso Manga. Here in Ihambane we have various tourist activities for instance culture, dancing, the Timbila as our cultural heitrage and many tourists come to see how we make the timbila and visit Zavala to witness that. A large part of tourism is around the beaches. We have Tofo, Praiaa de Barra, Vilankulos – it's a big tourist destination this province. To expand tourism there are some provincial bodies, like the Casa de Culturo which organises various events – we have the Timbila Festival, which we hold at the end of the August, the Festival is in Zavala and a big festival that a lot of tourists go to see. The festival in Tofo which attracts a lot of toursists to explore the gastronomy, traditional dance, local music – those are the big festivals we have in Inhambane – but we also have smaller ones in our districts. – in Vilanculos, the Beach Fest – these attract tourists, and causes them to return again. They make this an attractive destination. Chopi festival august. For the Timbila festival in Zavala there is an association that is responsible for working wit the professionals from the ministry of culture, to direct and run it – the ministry also sponsors the festival to help the association to capitalise on it. Tourism and businesses are working together. We are holding art exhibitions … it helps them to sell, and there are various other benefits including training of local people. Annual Timbila festivals takes place at the end of August in Zavala district, a Unesco world heritage site. Timbila is supported by Gil Vicente live music venue and the One Ocean New Years music festival in Tofo which opens and closes with the traditional music of the region.