Mutima band—an ensemble of musicians focused on playing smooth Afro styles, funk, reggae, jazz, and groove ballads, is currently on the cusp of launching their second album, Hold Me Close. Mutima released their introductory debut album Dream Of in 2014, and have since been establishing a stronger roots based sound, whilst working on their second CD.

Mutima’s various musical styles reflect and expresses the two co-founder’s—Wajipha Chongwe (lead singer) and Freddy Poncin (drummer)—diverse cultural backgrounds; the very word Mutima meaning ‘heart’ in Nyanja, one of the spoken languages in Zambia, Wajipha’s birthplace. The array of cultural, tribal, and national identities Wajipha was born into in Lusaka, Zambia, enhances her strength in songwriting, her bilingualism evident in the various verses appearing in Nyanja.

Malasha Man is one of such songs, consisting of a combination of both English and Nyanja, inspired by the Malasha Men of the Eastern Province of Zambia. The roots reggae track reflects themes of nature, and the destruction it so often experiences from unsustainable and non eco-friendly industries. This song can be found on Mutima’s upcoming album, and has just been chosen for the Kiss My WAMI compilation CD for 2015.

The second co-founder, Freddy Poncin, is a six-time WAMI award winner percussionist and drummer, and is no stranger to the music industry. According to the Drumscene Magazine in 2006 as well as 2014, he is considered to be one of Australia’s finest hand percussionists. Being born to an Indonesian mother and Dutch father, Freddy spent the first two third’s of his life in Amsterdam, where he immersed himself in afro reggae music, spending twelve years playing percussion and drums, touring Europe for one of the best bands of its genre in the Netherlands, Revelation Time. Living in Australia was no different, Freddy quickly diving into the music industry here; the music for Mutima band all being produced, recorded, and mixed by Freddy in his studio.

The band in Australia, consisted of Mario Horvat (Croatia) on bass, Joe Reina (IT) on guitar, Mike Gowland (UK) on piano, Freddy Poncin (Holland) on drums and percussion, Beaudeane Bruderlow (NZ) on keys, Adam Monk (AU) on percussion and Wajipha Chongwe (Zambia) on lead vocals, is set to launch their second album, Hold Me Close, on the 21st November, the featured song, Malasha Man, currently available on iTunes.

“While dancing is something that has always come naturally to me, my musical journey has been a different story. Throughout my life, I’ve always had a passion for singing, mostly acapella, and it wasn’t until 2006 when singing on a professional level became something I did. This began with the Tasila Culture performance I wrote in 2006. For years after, I sang unaccompanied, something I enjoyed, and it wasn’t until 2012 and with the guidance, inspiration and support in the form of my partner and musician Freddy Poncin that we formed Mutima Band. This enabled me to perform songs I had written, while Freddy recorded, engineered, and produced them. Though this has been a challenging experience, it’s one that I’ve enjoyed immensely and has ultimately been a highly rewarding musical adventure.”

Wajipha Chongwe 2016

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