2 years since their Chichewa-language debut album gained airplay and positive reviews around the world, The Umoza Music Project is back and releasing new music this month. Recorded in their own studio in Senga Bay, as well as in the UK and the US, the EP brings together top singers from Malawi together with some very special guest musicians. The 4 songs cover surprisingly different styles – ‘Ndikafikabe’ sees Max Jere and Chakul Nyambo rapping with a live band and horn section, ‘Zikomo’ is a floor-filling disco track, ‘Uzibwelela’ sounds like a traditional acoustic song but is brand new, and ‘Tiwathandize’ shows the Malawian singers as true jazzmen. Led by London-based Producer John Tobin, who was born in Blantyre, the band are releasing the first 4 tracks from their new album exclusively in Malawi to thank their fans for all their support.
Joining them on these recordings are top musicians from the UK and some new special guests including US-based Mo Pleasure on bass guitar. Mo is a top composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist and has played with Christina Aguilera, Mary J Blige, Ray Charles, and Earth Wind & Fire; Mo is also one of the very few musicians in the world to have played with both Michael and Janet Jackson and appears in the 2009 Michael Jackson documentary This Is It and Janet Jackson’s film Janet: Live in Hawaii.
The band’s first album, ‘Let Them Speak’ (2015, released on Nub Music) was a new fusion in World Music and gained airplay and newspaper coverage around the world. Their Facebook page (featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the songwriting and recording process in Malawi and the UK) has 14,000 likes, with many fans in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. They have also developed a worldwide fan base across an incredible 45 countries thanks to social media and global streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, attracting music lovers from New Zealand to Nepal, the US, South America, Europe, Caribbean, Australia and the Far East. The success of the band’s 2015 album funded the building of a new studio production centre on the banks of Lake Malawi in Senga Bay.
The Umoza Studio now offers music recording and video production services to other musicians, from solo acts to church choirs – many of whom stay at the studio while recording. The band are reunited once again on the beach this month and are busy writing and recording, rehearsing for live performance, making promo videos and doing interviews.
The Umoza Music Project is produced by John Tobin and David Doll; they are distributed worldwide outside Africa by Nub Music, and will soon be available digitally in Africa on malawi-music.com