Wazimbo & Banda Kakana (Mozambique)
Born Humberto Carlos Benfica in 1948 in Chibuto, Mozambique, Wazimbo is now one of the best known singers of marrabenta, a typically Mozambican musical style that emerged in the 1930s, blending traditional rhythms with Portuguese and western styles. Wazimbo is a leading light who maintains a contagious passion for this music.
He grew up in Mozambique’s capital, Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), and decided at an early age that he would be a professional singer. He began singing in 1964 in the group Silverstars and later with the Geiziers, and in 1979 joined the group Marrabenta Star de Moçambique, quickly becoming its lead singer. Under his influence, bringing in electric guitars, horns and talented singers, the band developed its own marrabenta style. Success was theirs, but civil strife, exile, and other stresses caused the band to split. Since then, Wazimbo has continued to perform on stages around the world. One sure thing is that the “Golden Voice” of Mozambique, as he is nicknamed, has lost nothing of his lustre – and continues to rally audiences wherever he performs.
Lead singer Yolanda Chicane, together with Azarias Arone, founded the Maputo-based Banda Kakana. The group has become a leading representative of a new generation of Mozambican bands, following in the celebrated footsteps of groups like Ghorwane, Eyuphuro and Orquestra Marrabenta Star of Mozambique. It is Yolanda’s rich, powerhouse vocals that have been the driving force in the success of the group in Mozambique, where they’ve won several major awards, and beyond.
Kakana’s sound is based in marrabenta, and they fuse this sparkling music with other Mozambican forms and the melodies and rhythms of Africa and the world: Afro-pop, Afro-jazz and rock. They sing in a variety of languages, including Changana, Emacua, Chope, Portuguese and English.
Together, Wazimbo and Banda Kakana promise some musical fireworks, as two of Mozambique’s greatest exports join forces to share their homeland’s most popular music with us.