On Saturday 17th November, Otto & The Mutapa Calling officially launched their debut album, Mvura Ichanaya, at Grow Hackney in east London. The album is a self produced 9 track album that was recorded in London and includes acoustic marimba, mbira, drumming and singing. It is a colourful collection of folk melodies from across southern Africa.
The opening track, and the title track of the album, Mvura Ichanaya is an adaptation of a Shona harvest song. The lyrics say “this is the year the rains shall come” – and expresses through African metaphorical speech the hope for good things to come.
The second track is Dineo, an original Setswana song written by Otto which is addressed to parents, reminding them that the talents of their children come in different forms, and those less academically gifted should never be given up on.
The third song on the album is Mhondoro, an adaptation of a Karanga rain making song which was inspired by the passing of a family member.
Mancube is next on the album, and is a traditional Ndebele song named after a man’s wife who has gone missing. The man seeks the assistance of a traditional healer to find her whereabouts.