“Rhythms to our Ancestors” by Matchume Zango and Jul Dillier [Matola]
This project is supported through the Confluences open call, aimed at supporting a shared space for collaboration, creation, and documentation of new work between musicians who have an existing creative relationship.
“Rhythms to our Ancestors” is a collaborative project by timbila master Matchume Zango (Mozambique) and pianist and sound artist Jul Dillier (Switzerland) in honour of the music, songs, instruments and rhythmic heritage passed down from their grandfathers.
During a residency at Nzango Artist Residency in Matola, Mozambique from 6 – 23 April 2023, the two artists will develop and record six new tracks, accompanied by Mozambican musicians Nelton Miranda (bass) and Djibra Mussa (drums). The project will bring together the Chopi Timbila musicality and songs inherited by Matchume from his grandfather Venâncio Mbande, in fusion with Jul’s Swiss musicality influenced by jazz, minimalism and lyrics inspired by the poetry of his grandfather Julian Dillier.
The artists’ current project emerges out of previous collaborations. After a first meeting in South Africa, Matchume and Jul formed a band in 2018 during Matchume’s residency in Switzerland. The Alpine Connection quartet was completed with the participation of Swiss bass/violinist Matthias Abächerli and Austrian drummer Chris Norz. Their sound mixed traditional Mozambican music, jazz and Swiss folk music. The group spent two weeks sharing a very fruitful musical and cultural exchange, rehearsing, recording and performing new material together. In 2019 the artists deepened their collaboration and performed their music for Mozambican audiences during Jul’s residency at Nzango Artist Residency.
The artists will present the outcome of the collaboration with a performance at the Galeria Porto. They will also host a musical workshop with the group “Orquestra Amadora de Unidade 7”, open to young people from the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Matchume Zango has dedicated himself to traditional Mozambican music and dance since the age of six. Inspired by this long and passionate trajectory of music and percussion, he began to play, study music and produce instruments such as timbila, mbira, xitende and djembe drums. Over the past twenty years, Matchume has toured the world as a performing musician and composer of traditional, experimental and fusion music. He has completed dozens of successful collaborations with international artists in the genres of music performance, theatre, dance and film, and has recorded several albums with Timbila Muzimba, Mo’Some Big Noise, Kubilai Khan and Forest Jam. In 2016, Matchume earned his Bachelor degree in Music Performance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT). In Mozambique, he maintains his role as one of the founding members of the band Timbila Muzimba, the Warethwa Cultural Association, and the “Orquestras Amadoras” (Community Orchestras). In 2013 Matchume opened the Nzango Artist Residency in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Maputo, Mozambique. In September 2017, Matchume released his first solo album “Wata M’cande”, recorded at Nzango Artist Residency. In November 2017, he finished recording the album “Tributo a Venâncio Mbande (1933-2015)”, a tribute to his grandfather, master teacher and one of Mozambique’s most prominent timbila players. Currently, Matchume is pursuing his Master’s degree in Music at UCT, with a specialisation in performance and a dissertation in music technology.
The pianist and sound artist Jul Dillier grew up in the canton of Obwalden and lives alternately in Vienna and Sachseln. He studied jazz piano with a minor in percussion at the universities of Lucerne, Basel and Linz with Vera Kappeler, Malcolm Braff, Christoph Cech and Hannes Löschel, among others. His active contact with African musicians also led him to residencies in Burkina Faso, South Africa and Mozambique. As a jazz pianist he plays at renowned festivals all over Europe. As a composer and sound artist, he develops music for radio plays and theatre productions, writes and sets texts to music, and stages site-specific sound performances.