Jaco Maria was born in the coastal province of Inhambane, south of Mozambique, in May 1958. Still a teenager it was already clear that he had a unique talent for music. But it wasn’t until he was a young man that Jaco Maria finally found a place where he would undoubtedly feel at home ever since: on a stage, with a microphone in his hand and a guitar on his shoulder. During the ’80´s, Jaco moved to South Africa, Mozambique’s neighboring country. It wasn’t long before he had taken the lead role as vocalist for South African “super group”, Ozila, popular for the hit ‘I’m suffering’.
From his respectable journey as a musician, it is important to highlight his participation as lead vocalist in the South African group Loading Zone (Universal Music), as well numerous live collaborations with some of the finest African musicians, such as Allou April, Jimmy Dludlu, Judith Sephuma, and others. He also sang as a backing vocalist for musicians like Miriam Makeba and Papa Wemba. He collaborated in music albums by Jimmy Dludlu (‘Echoes From The Past’ and ‘Corners Of My Soul’), Tucan Tucan, Allou April (‘Bringing Joy’), Wanda Baloyi (‘So Amazing’), Moreira Chonguiça, Musa Manzini, The Parlotones and Freshlyground.
In the year 2000 Jaco released his first solo music album – ‘Life Again’. In 2013, the Mozambican musician currently residing in the majestic Cape Town (South Africa) finally unveils to the public his long waited music album – ‘THE STORYTELLER’, produced by Lucas Khumalo.
Jaco Maria is a musician of intelligence that is able to express his thoughts succinctly and simply. He has one of those voices which, once you hear it, can belong to no-one else. Maria and band are accomplished musicians. The rhythm section are tight as can be expected, and make up a very large part of the band’s sound. This is a band that can do Afro-pop, Afro-Jazz, and even tropical rhythms from Latin America at its best. “Nayo Waye” is a prime example. The rhythm track is to die for while delivering a poignant message.
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The other great groove tracks on this collection is “The Story Of Africa”, “Mina Sengaliwe” and “Touch The Skies” which are vehicles for smoldering bass and percussion with Jaco Maria’s haunting vocal lines providing the counterpoint.
‘THE STORYTELLER’ is joyous and uplifting jamming, offering a nice balance of superb African vocals and instrumentation with Western-styled production. The songs are full of heartfelt emotion expressed in Jaco Maria’s vocals, the band’s tight and layered playing and the lyrics which beautifully convey the real concerns and hopes of modern Africa. Consistently the band and vocals are great and the production, while slick, doesn’t obscure it’s African roots. You’ll particularly love Maria’s soaring, emotive voice on anything he sings.
On this lovely piece of work, Jaco Maria is backed by various guest musicians, like: Lucas Khumalo (SA) on the bass-guitar; Anthon Mannel (SA) and Frank Paco (MOZ) on the drums; Joseph Avergel (SA) and Tony Paco (MOZ) on the percussion; Mark Goliath (SA) and Shaggy Scheepers on the keyboards; Nathan Carolus (SA) and Angelo Syster on the guitar; John Hassan (MOZ) on the percussion and voice; and Bongiwe Mpanza (SA) and Fancy Galada on backing vocals, and Buddy Wells on (Saxophone) (SA).
On the sixteen tracks that make up the album, Jaco Maria proves that versatility is the name of the game, as ‘THE STORYTELLER’ attempts a comprehensive redefinition of African music in the international marketplace…and succeeds wholeheartedly!
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