- label:Piranha Records
- type: Solist, Composer/Songwriter
- instrumentation:instrumental, vocal
An extraordinary voice, the premiere ensemble of the time to back him and a composition that went on to become a hit around the world – Wazimbo’s status as the undisputed king of Mozambican marrabenta is beyond question.
Although a genuine hybrid between traditional Mozambican dance rhythms and Portuguese folk music, as the music of choice of FRELIMO (The Mozambique Liberation Front), the famous marrabenta style became the soundtrack to Mozambique’s struggle for independence from Portugal. One of the most famous ensembles of the style’s second heyday in the 1980s was Orchestra Marrabenta Star de Mocambique. Its lead singer, from 1979, was Wazimbo.
Born Humberto Carlos Benfica in 1948, Wazimbo had started his career in the 1960s, playing with Silverstars and the Geiziers in the capital Maputo, when the city was a gambling Mecca for rich South Africans. Marrabenta originated in Maputo in the 1930s and rose to fame in the 1950s but was almost completely wiped out by the civil war of the 1980s into the 90s following the independence from Portugal – along with practically the whole of Mozambique’s record industry.
Som to record their debut album IndepenDance for Piranha Records – released in the label’s second year, serving as one of the foundation stones of the label – they actually had to go to Harare, Zimbabwe. This album already contained the unfinished original version of the group’s (and Wazimbo’s) biggest hit to come – an impromptu rendition during the recording sessions of “Nwahulwana”.
Nobody had even kept score of the song during the sessions – it was only found by accident while the tape was running on during the mixing sessions. It was so strong, it went on the original vinyl release in its unfinished form, was later rerecorded completely and the new version went on to earn the band and its label serious attention with a Microsoft commercial and an appearance in the Sean Penn directed movie “The Pledge”.
“Nwahulwana” has gone on to become a world music classic – as has the rest of the material recorded at that famous 1988 Harare session, making for some of the catchiest, most easy-flowing yet physically irresistible African dance pop of the 1980s.
Vibrating with the overflowing musical wealth of its Caribbean and African roots, complete with the luxuriously opulent production of the time including brass, various guitars and the enchanting back-up choruses throughout, adorning dance tunes and ballads alike: the music of Wazimbo and the Orchestra Marrabenta Star de Mocambique is a monument of grace and joy!
Management & Booking (Worldwide)
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