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In this podcast series, musician and musicologist Cara Stacey interviews leading indigenous music specialists from across southern Africa about their beginnings, their praxis, and the highs and lows of working in indigenous musics.

Matchume Zango

Matchume Zango has dedicated himself to traditional Mozambican music and dance since the age of six. He is regarded as one of the new masters of timbila. His parents and grandparents are originally from Zavala, Inhambane Province, which is the center of Mozambique’s timbila tradition. Inspired by this long and passionate trajectory of music and percussion, he began to play, study music and produce instruments such as timbila, mbira, xitende and djembe drums.


Over the past twenty years, Matchume has toured the world as a performing musician and composer of traditional, experimental and fusion music. As an ambassador of Mozambican music and culture, he has performed, taught and carried out artistic and cultural projects in a number of countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, China, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Luxemburg, Madagascar, Mali, Norway, Portugal, Reunion Island, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, United States and Zimbabwe. He has completed dozens of successful collaborations with international artists in the genres of music performance, theater, dance and film, and has recorded several albums with Timbila Muzimba, MoSomeBigNoise, Kubilai Khan and Forest Jam.


In 2016, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT). While studying at UCT, he was employed as a lecturer and composed and performed music for various departments including theater, dance and cinema. In addition, he has given workshops and courses in Mozambican music and dance at schools and universities in several countries. In Mozambique, he maintains his role as one of the founding members of the band Timbila Muzimba, the Warethwa Cultural Association, and the “Orquestras Amadoras” (Community Orchestras). Furthermore, he built up the Nzango Artist Residency in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Maputo, Mozambique, which he is directing since its opening in 2013.


In September 2017, he released his first solo album “Wata M’cande”, recorded at Nzango Artist Residency and mastered at M.E.L.T. 2000 in Durban, South Africa. In November 2017, he finished recording the album “Tributo a Venâncio Mbande (1933-2015)”, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, who was his grandfather, master teacher and one of Mozambique’s most prominent timbila players. Currently, Matchume Zango is pursuing his Master’s degree in Music, with a specialization in performance and a dissertation in music technology at UCT.