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Review of Wired for Sound’s 'Moçambique'

Wired for Sound is a mobile 4x4 solar powered recording studio that has given young artists from all corners of Mozambique a chance to record their music.

Headed by Simon Atwell, Kim Winter and Julio Sigauque, most of what is recorded is the artist’s original work, but some tracks are created from scratch just for the project. The musicians get a copy of their tracks which allows them to promote themselves and grow musically. To complete the album, Wired for Sound takes the recordings back to South Africa where collaborations with established musicians occur. The product is Moçambique, an album of African style zouk, Marrabenta, Chimurgena rhythms, solely instrumental pieces and even hip hop beats.

The proceeds will go towards building recording studios for the radio stations of the community in which recordings took place. This endeavor has already attracted the well-deserved attention of many other cultural departments that want to get involved in continuing and expanding the project. Each song is its own and deserves its own review, but for your sake, I will just highlight some favorites.

The opening track, “Thikukulola,” has a very care-free feel to it. It is a simple track that features an acoustic guitar, a lap steel guitar and soft male vocals. The acoustic guitar and uplifting vocals gives the track a cheerful feel. The lap steel guitar adds a layer that I can best describe as childhood mischief.

One of three tracks with English titles, “Marry Very Well,” has a more complex sound. It features some drums, electric guitar, layered vocals, and clapping. The vocals are at least partially English and talk of a desire to find a good love and to marry, very well, that love. Songs like these contrast well with other songs like “Domestic Violence” to show the diversity of sound on the album.

While it has guitar and a drum set as its accompaniment, the flow spit in “Domestic Violence” is undeniable. I would love to hear this artist rap over a “traditional” hip-hop beat. At the same time, however, this is a unique sound that would only be ruined by a more familiar beat. Another favorite of mine is “Matabixo.” It is a very danceable song, as demonstrated in the video. Starting with just an electric guitar noodling, soon a fast hi-hat snare combo comes to introduce a set of layered vocals that take the spotlight. Later a lap guitar is added in, but the fun beat persists giving it a cheerful feel as opposed to its usual gloomy, whining.

As can be seen in the video, all these songs were recorded on makeshift or dog eared instruments, and yet such beautiful sounds are created. This is an amazing project that deserves all the support it can get. The album is on Amazon for only nine dollars and I highly suggest you buy it, If not for the beautiful and varied world music that you should be exposed to, then simply to benefit such a great initiative.