Personnel: Bernaldo Honwana, Julio Sigauque (vocals, guitar); Tony Paco (drums, percussion); Helder Gonzaga (shaker); Barry Van Zyl (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Robin Hogarth.
Recording information: Street Level Studios, Cape Town, South Africa.
Photographers: Barry Van Zyl; Carol Hogarth; Robin Hogarth.
Translators: Jeannine Blanpain; Ute Entwistle.
Marrabenta is the music of Mozambique, originally the sound of the underclass, but now very much of the nation as a whole. Low-key and joyful, it's a little like the palm wine music of West Africa, laid-back and welcoming, acoustic and friendly. Even at its most extroverted, with a full band, as on "Eliza We" and "Mode Xicavalo," it doesn't manage more than a lope; this definitely isn't music for galloping, but for the warm afternoons and evenings. YINGUICA kicks off with Bernard Honwana, one of marrabenta's giants--his father also played the style--on a gentle, lulling piece, "Vou Morrer Assim'," and only very slowly moves up through the gears. The relaxed ambience, right down to conversation, laughter, and the clink of beer bottles, makes it a homegrown pleasure that's worth repeated listenings, both to take it in and to create an instant soft party atmosphere as background.