Mokoomba is one of Africa’s most exciting young bands, dazzling audiences worldwide with their knockout live shows and potent blend of traditional Tonga, Luvale, & Nyanja sounds laced with international styles from soukous to soul.
Mokoomba is based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The band’s six members, Mathias Muzaza (lead vocals), Ndaba Coster Moyo (drums, backing vocals), Trustworth Samende (lead guitar, backing vocals), Donald Moyo, (keyboards, backing vocals), Miti Mugande, (percussion & backing vocals) and Abundance Mutori (bass, backing vocals) grew up as friends in the Chinotimba township.
Living in a border city that attracts tourists from all over the world gave Mokoomba’s music an international perspective from the beginning, incorporating everything from reggae to afropop to soul alongside their own local musical traditions.
The group’s members began playing together as teenagers in 2001, and Mokoomba was officially formed in 2008. Their first major success came that same year, when they won the Music Crossroads Inter-Regional Festival Competition in Malawi.
In 2009 Mokoomba recorded its first album, Kweseka — Drifting Ahead, which generated a local hit “Messe Messe”, and the group’s first European tour. Mokoomba recorded a second EP, Umvundla, in 2011. But their big break came in 2012, when the band released Rising Tide produced by pioneering Ivoirian bassist Manou Gallo (Zap Mama) for the Belgian label ZigZag World.
The success of Rising Tide led Mokoomba to tour over 40 countries worldwide, including performances at Denmark’s Roskilde festival, the UK’s WOMAD festival, Belgium’s Couleur Cafe´ festival, Morocco’s annual Gnawa World Music festival and New Orleans' storied Jazz and Heritage Festival.
In February 2017 Mokoomba released its self-produced third album Luyando on Germany’s OutHere label, a stripped down, mostly acoustic album that took their sound in a whole new direction, and took critics by storm.
Since then, Mokoomba has become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular bands, playing with such icons as Hugh Masekela, Baba Maal and the Talking Head’s Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz. They’ve rocked legendary rooms and stages worldwide, from NYC’s Apollo Theater, and The Kennedy Center is Washington, D.C., to London’s 100 Club and Amsterdam’s Melkweg, to WOMEX and SXSW, sealing their reputation as one of Africa’s best young live bands.
North American Booking: Alison Loerke
European Booking: Stefanie Schumann
African Booking: Marcus Gora
Official Website: http://mokoomba.band
“Mokoomba is quite simply the most impressive band Zimbabwe has produced in recent memory.” — Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide
"Saw 2 great African bands in 2 nights with same principle: bring together multiple cultures/minorities. Mokoomba from Zimbabwe--crisp with chameleon vocals--and Tal National from Niger, dizzying syncopations. Lesson: transcend tribalism. And not just for the great grooves".
Jon Pareles/NYT tweet, @JonPareles, Feb 24
“There’s an irrepressible energy, spectacular guitar work and a lot of soul” — Simon Broughton, London Evening Standard
"One of the most entertaining young bands in Africa … A natural entertainer, wearing a black hat and demonstrating some slick dance routines with the band, lead singer Mathias Muzaza has a powerful, soulful voice that is at times reminiscent of his great compatriot Oliver Mtukudzi, but also capable of hoarse, driving effects. He was backed by two percussionists, bass, a keyboard player who at times imitated the likembe thumb piano, and guitarist Trustworth Samende, who switched from South African township styles to funk. They were all impressive singers.” **** — Robin Denslow, The Guardian
"It was the fourth annual Africa Now! concert, presented by the Apollo and the World Music Institute; the public-radio program Afropop Worldwide recorded it for eventual broadcast. The quadruple bill squeezed the time for the other artists. Mokoomba a band from a border town in Zimbabwe, draws its music from across the continent, particularly southern Africa; its 2012 album, “Rising Tide” (Igloo), includes 12 songs in eight languages. So three songs were only a glimpse of Mokoomba’s capabilities— a glimpse that included a modal ballad with riveting, griot-strength lead vocals from Mathias Muzaza; a song rooted in the thumb-piano patterns of Zimbabwean tradition; and one that started with sweet, Congo-style vocal harmonies and grew into a crisp, irresistible soukous workout, complete with some synchronized dance steps. A full-length set would have been welcome." — Jon Pareles, The New York Times
“Saturday’s Highlight [of the Africa Oye Festival] was Mokoomba who stunned with their high energy, dancing together with joy and an infections rhythm. Mathias Muzaza's voice sounds like something between pebbles washing on a beach and a deep, guttural growl giving his emotional song to his parents an overwhelming potency. An outstanding finish to the first day.” ” — Anita Scott, Songlines
“Mokoomba has grown in the past five years, and whether the group goes back to a more high-energy sound in the future or stays here at its source, Mokoomba does its country’s music scene proud.” — Adriane Pontecovro, Pop Matters
"Mokoomba don’t rest for a second. They dance as if they are possessed by the vibes and grooves they play. Their performances are so cohesive that it looks like you’re participating in a music ritual … The gig was steadily upbeat and dance-inducing.” — Marco Canepari, Rhythm Passport
“The band's robust vocals, hypnotic harmonies and surprising guitar riffs leave a strong impression.” — T.L. Testerman, Taos News
“You have no choice but to dance when this Zimbabwe-based group performs their innovative mix of traditional Tonga and pan-African music with hints of rap, ska and Afro-Cuban music. Their infectious good vibes have long-lasting effects.” — Nancy Flores, Austin 360.com