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Mozambique pop full of beautiful hooks

By Eyuphuro

World Music Network: 2001

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This review first appeared in the November 18, 2001 edition of the American Reporter.

According to such folks as know these things, Eyuphuro was one of the most popular bands in Mozambique in the '80s before breaking up. Certainly, Eyuphuro was one of the most popular bands from Mozambique, touring Europe and the United States in the late '80s before breaking up.

A few years back, lead singer Zena Bacar re-formed the band, and now they have released their first new album, "Yellela."

Western listeners of South African pop will probably find Eyuphuro's marrabenta style fairly familiar. The beat isn't as complex as some African forms, nor as dance-oriented. It's a shuffle sort of rhythm which keeps the focus on the singers.

Given the strength of Bacar and new co-lead singer, Issufo Manuel, the focus is exactly where it needs to be.

Bacar's voice is rough, much like Billie Holiday's toward the end of her life. And like Holiday's, that raw quality only makes her singing that much more expressive – a remarkable feat, given that none of the lyrics are in English.

And when Bacar and Manual back each other, the harmonies are exquisite.

Here's hoping Eyuphuro sticks around a little longer this time.