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Jon Pareles
The New York Times, July 2002

"The buzzing, quick-plucked thumb pianos used in traditional music from the Chopi people of Mozambique create a breakneck, caffeinated rush on the Eduardo Durao Timbila Ensemble's "Timbila" (Naxos World). As Mr. Durao joins in four-part vocal harmonies, his band's alto, bass and contrabass timbila (the plura of mbila, thumb piano) are plucked in patterns that sound like a merry-go-round about to spin off its axle. Modern Mozambique has been torn by civil war and ravaged by floods, but its rock is irrepressible."

Geoff Chapman
Toronto Star, April 2002

"The extraordinary, 28-strong Venancio Mbande Orchestra is led by 70-year-old Vanancio Mbande who lives in a village in northern Mozambique. The musicians, many of them Mbande offspring, play timbila, an instrument like a xylophone, as a basis for a lively open-air recording. The leader founded his first timbila orchestra in 1956 to keep alive the ancient musical traditions of the Chopi tribe, and after retiring from working in gold mines, he set up a timbila school. Timbila comes in treble, alto, bass and contrabass forms. Mbande's songs - about flirting, gossip, floods, amtition, thieves and land mines - involve the fascinating, clattering bell sounds of 11 timbila players, percussion and 13 singers skilled at harmony, although orchestral wallop makes the singing hard to distinguish."

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