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, and 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.
Hondo, track five on the album, is a Shona folk song and the lyrics sung on this recording are a combination of traditional lines and slightly more modern lyrics adopted in the 1980s during the time of independence. The lyrics celebrate the fact that independence was won because people went out and fought for it. The song closes with some mellow mbira, bringing it back to its traditional origin and sound.
Ke Ne Kele Kae is sixth on the album and another one of Otto’s original songs. The song is a reminder to young people not to neglect their homes and families as they progress in life.
Track seven is the popular Sotho gospel song, Hlonolofatsa – a song that was made popular in the early 2000s and is sung across southern Africa.
Gandanga is a Shona song from the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe where the freedom fighters reminded the villagers that they sought refuge amongst that they deserved more than just scraps to eat.
And lastly, the album closes with the upbeat farming song Kusarima – a song which encourages people to pick up their tools and help work the land.
The 9 track album is a starting point for the London based marimba band as they look forward to showing the world more on future recording. Mvura Ichanaya is a perfect album for anyone looking to sample a taste of southern African folk songs and rhythms. The album can be purchased from this website in physical or digital form here, or downloaded from major online stores such as iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon.
About The Band
Otto & The Mutapa Calling is a lively London based marimba band playing energetic, joyful music from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, including folk songs, original songs and popular southern African covers. The band's set-up includes soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas, mbira, hosho, drumming and singing, with both traditional and contemporary dances. The marimba band’s sound is full of energy and pulsating rhythms - and their music shares the rich cultures, histories and stories of the people of southern Africa. Otto & The Mutapa Calling is a unique and colourful experience and is the only active professional marimba band of its kind in all of Europe.
Telephone: 0751 550 8934