Photo: Eyuphuro

Artist Name: Eyuphuro
Genre: African Pop
Country: Mozambique

Artist Bio: 

Eyuphuro (which means "whirlwind" in the Macua language) was formed in 1981 by Omar Issa, Gimo Remane and dynamic female vocalist Zena Bacar, and became one of the most successful bands to emerge from Mozambique.

The group comes from the Ilha de Moçambique, the island in the north of the country that was the historic crucible of African, Arabic and Portuguese influences that forged modern Mozambique. Eyuphuro's music reflects this cultural syncretism, offering up a rich blend of traditional rhythms from the Nampula province, including tufo, namahandga, masepua, djarimane, morro and chakacha. Eyuphuro's songs express the island's traditional way of life, taking the fishermen with their typical canoa sailboats and women with their faces painted with homegrown msiro cosmetic, as their topics and their totems.

In 1989, Eyuphuro embarked on its first European tour, and soon became a hit on the European festival circuit. The group's stunning performances at the WOMAD festival led to the their recording of Mama Mosambiki for the Real World label, becoming the first Mozambican group to record an international release. The record, released in 1990, won critical acclaim and won singer Zena Bacar—a former fisherwoman—high praise as "the golden voice of Mozambique."

But Eyuphuro's story was almost over before it began, when bandleader Gimo Remane married and relocated to Denmark, Zena Bacar's only son, a pilot, died in a plane accident, and Omar Issa left the group for family reasons

Then, in 1998, Zena Bacar reformed the group and began writing new songs with the singer and songwriter Issufo Manuel. The revitalised Eyuphuro successfully toured in Europe during the summer of 2000, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. In 2001, with the help of Swiss producer Roland Hohberg, the band returned to recording with the release of Yellela. That same year, original founder Omar Issa returned to the band in time to join the international tour in support of Yellela.—Tom Pryor


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Image: Yellela

Yellela

Released: 2001
Label: IODA

 

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