Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Moreira Project - Sax with a mission

Yesterday I met an artist that I have heard of in the past, but not yet had the opportunity of meeting before. It was long overdue!

Saxophonist Moreira Chonguica, originally from Mozambique, is a man on a mission! He is out to conquer the world, on his own terms, and it was refreshing to hear his attitude to the local music scene. He is enthusiastic – realistic, yes – but excited about what he has to offer. And he is creating a brand around his own colourful big character, standing centre stage and woo’ing the audience.

Moreira graduated from UCT in 2000 with an honours degree in Musicology and distinction in Jazz Performance, and has since then performed with most of the major artists in South Africa, such Allou April, Judith Sephuma, Robbie Jansen and the UCT Big Band.

He has appeared at various international festivals with Jimmy Dludlu’s band at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands in both 1999 and 2000; Chicago Jazz Festival 2000; International African Music Festival of Wurzburg in Germany 2002; African Summer Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe; Victoria Jazz Festival, Spain; and the Joy of Jazz, the Jazzathon, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in South Africa.

Moreira’s debut CD, Moreira Project – The Journey, Volume One, was released in 2005 under his own label so as to be able to control his own destiny. He didn’t want to be tied to any of the majors, and as all musicians who have funded their own projects know, there is nothing cheap about creating a professional production. And this is a good looking, good sounding funky, hip and happening CD, full of his energy and passion.

Tony Paco (on drums) is on the album, as is Freshlyground’s guitarist and fellow Mozambican Julio Sigauque, pianist Mark Fransman who has been with Moreira for many years, and Willie Haubrich on trombone – just some of the quality musicians we have been working with over the years.

I enjoyed meeting Moreira – it was easy to get excited about what is happening around us, with the opportunities that are opening up in this digital age, for musicians to be able to express themselves, and get their product out to the world. And we agreed that now especially, care needs to be taken that the product we do present, is of the highest quality.

In this little video clip Moreira performs with a DJ at the after party of the 2006 Nokia Fashion Week. Jamming away on stage, with the models strutting their stuff around him, Moreira gets down and funky!

P.S. This is the first video I have embedded from a new local video host My Video - they're based in Cape Town and have been pretty nifty in our dealings thus far, so I wish them all the best!

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