SIMBA MORRI - Celebrating Life / Mwanza Nyanza (1990)

3rd Ear, TEAG3310
Producers: Simba Moriri & Phil Audoire (exec: David Marks)
Engineer: Phil Audoire
Recorded at: 3rd Ear Music, Durban

Simba Morri (aka Morri Natti) was born in Kenya and came to South Africa to study Anthropology at Wits University in Johannesburg before turning full time to music. A regular performer at political gatherings, he joined the band Mapantsula, who first released on Shifty Records' anti-conscription Forces Favourites compilation. Part of South Africa's multiracial 'alternative' scene in the 80s, his music added a rare pan-African element at a time when South Africa was isolated from the rest of the world.

In 1986 Morri recorded his debut album Wasamata on Shifty, the following year contributing guitars and vocals to Mzwakhe Mbuli's iconic debut Change is Pain. In 1990 he released Mwanza Nzanza (Celebrating Life) on Durban-based 3rd Ear Music. A regular on the club scene, he also taught at the Funda Centre in Soweto. In 1994 he was invited to perform at the African Arts festival in South Korea. In the mid-90s two songs from this album, 'Unity' and 'Celebrating Life' were used by the SABC to encourage voting. 1996 saw him supporting Crosby Stills & Nash in Johannesburg, and in 1997 he performed in Nantes, France.

"Simba calls his music Mashariki Muziki, a blend of rhythms and styles that embraces the Swahili Hi-Life music of Kenya (his home), the Socca and Afro music of Central Africa, he Chimurenga music of Zimbabwe and the Mbaqanga and Township Jive of South Africa and Mozambique. His influences range across the continent, from Nairobi to Durban, and his songs express ideas and emotions that are vibrantly African, with an infectious beat that is universally danceable."