Music Interview South Africa

#MusicExchange: The return of jazzman Moreira Chonguiça

Jazzman Moreira Chonguiça's eagerly anticipated eighth album, Sounds of Peace comes five years after the release of the acclaimed album with the Lion of Africa, Manu Dibango, M&M.
Image supplied: Moreira Chonguiça
Image supplied: Moreira Chonguiça

Exploring influences from his Mozambican heritage, infused with personal experiences from the past few years, this is a thought-provoking, reflective and introspective album.

Inspired by the rich diversity of the multitude of languages and tribes that make up Mozambique’s cultural landscape, Moreira has used vocal melodies, rhythms and instruments on a number of the songs sung in a variety of different languages.

This album is about celebrating diversity, differences and similarities amongst African people with the multiplicity of influence that came from the Arabs, the Asians, the Portuguese, and other Europeans. It is about celebrating life with urgency. It is about peace, collaboration and the importance of mental health, all relevant issues in the turbulent times in which we live.

The past few years will forever be etched into our memories for their strangeness and this album subtly tries to make sense of this strange period in our history that caused the whole world to halt and breathe simultaneously.

I chatted with Moreira last week prior to the release of the album…

What is your job description?

Husband, dad, saxophonist, musician, composer, producer, hustler

What does music mean to you?

If I hadn’t studied music, I would have been an international lawyer. I think music is better for my soul

My music is about…

Life, circumstance, and the world around us.

What is your motto?

If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger…

Fame is about?

Opening doors and helping others.

Retirement will happen when…

I am no longer relevant or my lungs give in

I don't do…

Cheap. Quality is where it’s at

I would love to co-write with…

Sting, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones

Where do you go for inspiration to create?

I am inspired on a daily basis. Life inspires me, the people that surround me inspire me. Clothes, art, and nature inspire me.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

Working with people daily. I deal with a wide variety of people on a daily basis - from children to adults. I love people.

The song you must do during every show?

360° (what goes around comes around) from my first album The Moreira Project Vol 1: The Journey

My heroes are…

My parents, Nelson Mandela, and Hugh Masekela.

My style icon is…

Miles Davis

Which living person do you admire most and why?

Barack Obama and Cristiano Ronaldo – their work ethic is astounding and an inspiration.

What is your most treasured possession?

My children and my saxophones

It's your round; what are you drinking?

A good red wine or a single-malt whisky

Dream gig to do?

I would love to play Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland

What makes you stand out?

I believe time is a very precious commodity so I try and make every day count

Any nicknames?

Mo, Pai

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

Football player or international lawyer

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Energetic, lively, sociable, committed, fun

What are you streaming?

The Innocent and The Fugitive documentary

Greatest movie ever made?

The Godfather.

What book are you reading?

I adore reading and I think it’s very important. I read all the time. I love biographies and autobiographies. I love insights into this African continent of ours.

What song changed your life?

360° - its become an anthem.

Who do you love?

My wife, my two beautiful daughters, my friends, and my family.

What is your favourite word?

Dankie!

Top of your bucket list?

Travel

Your greatest achievement?

Going solo in 2005. It was really hard but my career really started at that point and I haven’t looked back.

What do you complain about most often?

I try not to complain…. it’s a waste of time. I try to keep positive, look for the positives and move forward on a daily basis.

What is your biggest fear?

I have got to the stage of my life where not much frightens me anymore.

Happiness is…

Having a lazy day with family and friends

On stage, I tend to...

Be strict! There’s a lot going on!

The best life lesson you have learned?

Slowly, slowly wins the race! Jazz is a metaphor for life.

What has been your favourite journey so far?

My trip to Kyoto in Japan for Ashinaga in 2018 was exceptional. I have been blessed to travel to some amazing places to play.

Do you do charity work, and if you do – what do you do?

I believe it’s important to give back …it’s one thing to give money and donations but more importantly, it's about giving time and energy to those less fortunate. I support a number of causes on an ongoing basis.

Wishes and dreams?

Peace, tolerance, and respect for each other.

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About Martin Myers

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


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