WEMA + MINTAKAA
Sunday 22 May 2022
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
£10 Advance/ £12 Door
The Tin At The Coal Vaults
Tickets: £10 Adv/£12 door
Ages: 14+ (under 18s to be accompanied by an adult)
For WEMA, collaboration is a state of mind. The five-piece collective – consisting of Tanzanian multi-instrumentalist Msafiri Zawose, producer Photay and Penya members Magnus P.I, Lilli Elina and Jimmy le Messurier – is an artistic pursuit founded on community; a space in which to harness the transformative power of connection. Translated from Swahili, ‘wema’ means kindness and benevolence – virtues that lie at the core of the project, and are reflected in the group’s world-embracing approach to music. “WEMA is a state of gratitude and belief, without sorrow or grief. It’s about giving your entire heart,” Msafiri declares.
The self-titled album is an intoxicating, dancefloor-indebted blend of traditional Tanzanian music, Afro-Latin rhythms and experimental electronic music, with the majority of lyrics sung in Swahili and Spanish. It’s a smorgasbord of sounds, moods and textures that call on the very ethos of the band; the pursuit of cohesion and togetherness in a fractured world. Through this lens, WEMA is a near-spiritual listen, invoking the sacred sounds of their global influences. The tape-delayed vocal samples and sparse industrial clangs of Kande are reminiscent of the kind of deconstructed beats you might find in a closing club set. Bendir Bendir’s pointillist soundscapes are juxtaposed with a warm chorus of Msafiri’s layered harmonies. Msafiri Jam Pt 2, with its uptempo percussion and atmospheric background noise, features the undulating hornwork of groundbreaking Afro-Cuban trumpeter Yelfris Valdes.
There’s a palpable optimism running through WEMA; it’s raw, unfiltered music that is as danceable as it is soul-stirring.
Support from MINTAKAA, a music producer and multi-instrumentalist from Coventry, who’s melodic, NeoJazz inspired riffs glide through astral ambience.