Mozambique traditional music

by Shopify API 19 September, 2019

Mozambique traditional music

Mozambique's music is one of the richest and most varied in all of Africa.
Let's talk about the 4 genres that I think are the most important, Marrabenta, Timbila, Mapiko and Nyau.
These 4 musical genres have very strong differences and blends from other countries such as Portugal and many more.

LET US BEGIN...

Marrabenta: It is an urban musical genre that emerged in the decade of 1930. It is based on a mixture of Portuguese folk sounds and traditional rhythms of Mozambique del Sur, such as zucuta, magika and n'fena. It became prominent in the suburban areas of Maputo, where a black majority resided, although the city saw a mixture of different ethnicities. In particular, Maputo's suburb, Mafalala, was known for its cultural dynamism, being home to famous people such as the poet José Craveirinha, soccer player Eusebio, Samora Machel and the world's first African bullfighter, Ricardo Chibanga. Mafalala was an access point for nightlife where the Comoros nightclub was located in the 40 and 50 years. The club, which was owned by an association headed by expatriates from the Comoros Islands, received sailors from North and South America who were in transit at Lourenço Marques.
Marrabenta began to gain popularity in the 1960 decade, when liberation movements such as FRELIMO interrupted the Portuguese colonial structure. The conflicts in the region, which eventually led to the Mozambique War of Independence (1964-1974), resulted in moderate politicians such as Adriano Moreira, who became Minister of the Overseas Provinces of Portugal. Moreira abolished the Statute of Indigeneity and introduced integrationist policies that defended equal rights and allowed black Mozambicans to obtain Portuguese citizenship. This marrabenta music became even more popular. For example, the Africa à Noite radio program played with Mozambican musicians such as Orquestra Djambu and João Domingos, and Marrabenta was broadcast along with Portuguese genres established as fado and vira.

Timbila: The word timbila in the Chopi language comes from the wooden xylophone of the same name (singular: mbila). These instruments are made of wooden slats, each equipped with a resonant pumpkin, which is then sealed with beeswax. The result is an energetic, bright and vibrant sound, since the slats are hit, polyrhythmically, with mallets. The musical tradition of timbila is a combination of music, dance and oral literature. The musical and choreographic arrangements that constitute the timbila are known as ngodo (structure). A composition of timbila has several movements, namely mtsitso (instrumental introduction), xithokhozelo (declamation), mwemisso (rest), chibhudhué (drama), mzeno (song) and mtsitso ho guita (closing / conclusion). Songs and performances generally express comments on social issues, or relate important events in the life of the community. Timbila is formed by a group of musicians and dancers, up to two dozen, under the direction of a director. Timbila's performances are held at weddings and other important community events, while the M'saho Festival, held annually in the southern district of Zavala, is an annual showcase for the genre.

Mapiko:

Mapiko is a traditional Mozambican dance that is accompanied by drums of the same name. The dance was originally performed by the people of Makonde in northern Mozambique, but arrived in other parts of the country when freedom fighters began using their theater as part of their doctrine. Etymologically, the word mapiko is linked to the verb kupika, which refers to the transformation of a sorcerer into a magical beast. In musical terms, mapiko refers to a costume show in which a dancer is covered with a large cloth while wearing a wooden helmet, although some mapiko rituals do not involve a headdress. Mapiko is at the heart of the initiation rituals, as well as in other important ceremonies, where the masked dancer is the symbol of the occasion.

Nyau: The word nyau means "mask," and is mainly used to refer to a secret Chewas society in central and southern Africa. However, the word nyau is not only used for the society itself, but also for the hierarchy of the people who form this society, the ritual dances associated with it and the unique masks used in these dance performances. The spiritual world, a central feature of Nyau cosmology, is symbolized by Gule Wamkulu (Grand Dance), a cultural practice that incorporates mwambo (traditions) such as masks, songs and dances, and is usually performed at funerals, memorial services and initiation. Each dancer represents a unique character depending on the mask or zoomorphic costume he wears. The zilombo, for example, are large constructions that cover the entire body and that mostly represent animals, while the masks used on the face represent ancestral spirits. At the time of the performance, it is understood that masked Nyau dancers are spirits of the dead. The increase in westernization in the region has led to a decrease in traditional Nyau performances. Seen with suspicion by outsiders, nyau has been misunderstood and misrepresented by groups such as Christian churches in the past. Once it was a purely religious dance, whose function was to communicate with the ancestral world, the Nyau tradition has been modernized in recent years, with contemporary Nyau characters representing motorcycles and cars.

These four musical genres tell us about an infinite history and culture, each of these genres has its own reason and rhythm.

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