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Ghorwane

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Ghorwane, the “Good Guys” of Mozambique by José Pinto Sá


In the hot and dusty Gaza province of Mozambique there is a small lake called Ghorwane that never runs dry, even in the hottest season. In 1983, a group of young musicians in Maputo, took the name Ghorwane as they launched their musical career. Today they are one of Mozambique’s most respected bands. Ghorwane chose to base their music on traditional Mozambican rhythms, combined with Afropop and fusion. At the time when most established groups earned a living by imitating foreign artists, this approach came as a stimulating innovation. The injection of life they have shot into the stagnant music scene, and their subsequent success, have inspired other bands to take a similar route.

The band is noted for the political and social criticism in their songs which has put them at loggerheads with the government from time to time. They have mirrored the frustration of their people at the continuing war that was grinding deeper into despair day after day, year after year. The lyrics are sung in African languages of Mozambique, like Changana, Ronga and Chope. The security services often attended their shows with instructions to listen closely to their lyrics. What saved them was that, in 1985 during the festival to celebrate the ten years of independence, Samora Machel (then President of Mozambique) declared that “It’s prohibited to lie in the People’s Republic of Mozambique” and cites Ghorwane as an example calling them “bons rapazes” - good guys - which they are called until today by the Mozambican people.

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