Songlines Music Awards 2013 Best Newcomer

Newcomer: Mokoomba

Album: Rising Tide on IglooMondo

Mokoomba Mokoomba Amazon

 artist photo © Roel Determeijer

This has been Mokoomba's year. The funky six-piece from Zimbabwe have impressed crowds everywhere they've played and it's impossible to resist the danceable charm of their international debut Rising Tide. The sheer number of 'Best of 2012' lists they have appeared on is a testament to that. From the Victoria Falls region of Zimbabwe, the members of Mokoomba are childhood friends whogrew up making music together. The area is home to the Tonga ethnic group, which has its own distinct musical styles. Much of Mokoomba's music draws on this but their influences also stretch further afield - Afro-salsa, Congolese rumba, reggae and more - creating a truly pan-African sound that is bursting with raw energy.

Frontman Mathias Muzaza's incredible voice is the band's secret weapon. Equally able to growl over funky guitar riffs or powerfully belt it out, Muzaza lends the band their signature sound. On Rising Tide, the whole band - Muzaza, Trustworth Samende on guitar, Abundance Mutori on bass, Donald Moyo on keyboards, Costa Ndaba Moyo on drums and Miti Mugande on percussion - are tied beautifully together by the slick production of Ivorian bassist Manou Gallo of Zap Mama.

With a European tour on the horizon, which is due to include festivals like the Essaouira Gnawa & World Music Festival, Africa Oyé and WOMAD Charlton Park, it looks like their upwards momentum won't be stopping anytime soon. A rising tide indeed!