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  • North Street Cabaret 610 North Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

A young Zimbabwe band reaches across stylistic boundaries with consistently powerful results. Info

Photo by Eric van Nieuwland.

Photo by Eric van Nieuwland.

A six-piece band hailing from the town of Victoria Falls in northwestern Zimbabwe, Mokoomba formed in 2007 and has since explored a variety of ways to mix musical idioms of the Tonga ethnic group with musical traditions from cross southern Africa, in addition to more far-flung elements like ska and rock. That spirit of fusion is pretty easy to hear in the slick production and ambitious arrangements of Mokoomba's 2012 debut album, Rising Tide, whose references range from hip-hop on opening track "Njoka" to sinuous Middle Eastern or Flamenco-like melodies on "Yombe." The band made a deliberate shift with 2017's Luyando, which relies more heavily on acoustic instrumentation and overall feels more direct and incisive, even if the stylistic reach is still just as heady on songs like the slow-burning "Kumukanda" and the rapid-fire "Vimbe." But on either record, the same foundations are at work, especially Mathias Muzaza's charismatic lead vocals, the group's harmonically layered call-and response vocals, and the ability to lay down immersive grooves as they reach across musical idioms. This intimate North Street Cabaret show comes ahead of Mokoomba's performance at the June 3 Pursuit of Happiness Session at McPike Park. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: June 1
Isthmus Jazz Festival 2018