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#MusicExchange: Moreira Chonguica

Multi-award winning Moreira Chonguica is a celebrated jazz musician born and currently living in Mozambique.
He is a saxophonist, ethnomusicologist, producer, composer and social entrepreneur and he recently released his new album with Manu Dibango called M &M.

I caught up with Moreira last week to find out what music means to him and more...

BizcommunityWhen are you happiest?

When I am making music either on stage or in the studio or eating ice cream with my children.

BizcommunityWhat does music mean to you?

It’s a cliché I know, but music is my life.  I owe everything I am and have achieved to music, and the saxophone. Music chose me.  I was going to study international law at UCT and ended up at the College of Music instead!

BizcommunityHave you had any funny moments on stage?

Not really. We generally have a lot of fun on stage and my best shows are when everyone is having fun. The last show with Manu Dibango at Cape Town International Jazz Festival, everyone was really nervous. It was a big deal playing with someone of his stature.

Generally, there is a lot going on on stage so there is a lot of concentration, but my band members are such amazing musicians and human beings. We have a great chemistry and they make me look so good!

BizcommunityWho are your heroes?

Musically my heroes are people like Miles Davis and Fela Kuti who chose to do things their way and not be intimidated by the system of the day, but I admire great sportspeople such as Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams, Ricky McGraw for their single-mindedness and dedication to their craft.

BizcommunityWhich living person do you admire most and why?

My mother.  She is such an inspirational, rational, positive person who gave up so much to raise three boys.  She is the person I go to when I need to moan and she gives me a pep talk and sends me on my way.

BizcommunityWhat is your most treasured possession?

My saxophones. I have four. The soprano that Najee gave me is especially special. He promised it to me during a show in Bloemfontein, 15 years ago and at the time, I never believed he would send it. It arrived just before Christmas.

BizcommunityIt’s your round, what are you drinking?

Single malt whisky, champagne or red wine. 

BizcommunityIf you were not a musician, what would you do?

I would have been an international lawyer. But if I had to stop playing now I would still be involved in the creative industry. Africa has so much talent and so much to offer the world. We are living in the most exciting time. I would use my experiences and influence to create more opportunities in Mozambique, South Africa and other parts of the continent.

BizcommunityPick five words to describe yourself?

Bold, energetic, respectful, disciplined and focused.

BizcommunityWhat song changed your life?

Ancestrology from Vol 1: The Journey – I wrote it long before I ever considered releasing my own album and it has guided me ever since. I have very strong ancestors who guide me. I don’t believe in being able to do things alone. There is a higher power – whatever you choose to call it – and I respect the universe. I am a great believer in verbalising my dreams and thoughts to the universe because you never know what comes back.

BizcommunityWhat is your favourite word?

Audacious and disruption.

BizcommunityWhat is at the top of your bucket list?
Winning a Grammy!

BizcommunityWhat has been your greatest achievement?

Making the difficult decision to leave a good band with regular income and go out on my own, but it made me stronger and more determined. 

BizcommunityWhat do you complain about most often?

The way people drive!

BizcommunityWhat is your fear?

I embrace fear.  I have learnt in recent years when a number of things have happened that have been beyond my control, but have not been pleasant to live through, that I cannot be eaten up by fear.  I use it to find a solution.  Everything has a solution even if it’s not what you want.

BizcommunityIf you are walking on stage for a keynote speech alla Barak Obama what song would you use and why?

Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Its powerful and energizing, and AC/DC are an institution. They don’t play by the rules.

BizcommunityWhat has been the best life lesson you have been taught?

Respect the past, but live in the present

Connect with Chonguica om Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud

About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse