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 ________________ New CD album by Gimo Mendes
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By Birgitte Jallov

With Heerups lithograph In the background, there is no doubt that Gimo - Abdul Remane Mendes - is in Denmark, a country which he chose 20 years ago as his second homeland. 

Here Gimo is teaching at the music school in Aarhus, running intercultural music projects and supporting among other things the development of  a hospital in the culturally rich and strong - but also economically very poor - island 'Ilha de Mocambique' from where he came              

Like the disarming and universal openness and warm that radiates from Gimo so is also Gimo’s music full of openness and warmth, disarming and universal, soft and beautiful, with very fine arrangements and backing vocals. With its clear roots in the music of Gimo's childhood island Mozambique: 'Ilha de Mocambique', mixed with music from other parts of Mozambique along with Latin rhythms, 'migrated' from the former colonial power Portugal and the related language of Brazil, you may find surprising Scandinavian references mixed into the music, reflecting Gimo Mendes’ 20 years stay in Denmark.

The language is my mother's voice - for Gimo the language is Makua

Gimo who was born in 1955, founded in 1983, the highly acclaimed Makua-singing group EYUPHURO which among other things worked with Peter Gabriel (more on the website). But much earlier - already in his teens - Gimo composed music during the last year of the war of liberation - early 1970s  in Gimo's native language Makua. It was the language people understood all around Gimo and in which Portugal, Mozambique´s tyrannical colonial power - of course - had forbidden them to sing. 

Gimo still sings mostly in Makua, but some of the songs are also in Portuguese,Mozambique's official language. Therefore Included with the CD is a beautiful booklet with the content of some of the song, and on the website you can also read about all the CD’s 19 numbers. (The song themes: see below)

Stort-telling in the glow of the fire

Gimo is a storyteller. When I read about the songs and hear Gimo sing, I imagine that he is sitting on the floor with his guitar - or maybe it is Mozambique's warm, red earth he sits on and with the fire crackling in the darkness - telling his children - and us - about everything from where he comes from in Mozambique. He talks about his dream of a better and stronger Mozambique and Africa. He tells of the great African leaders who have led the way as Mandela today - and of independence leaders like Nkrumah, Cabral, Nyerere, Lumumba and Mozambique's own Eduardo Mondlane.

But we also hear about the challenges in today's Mozambique and Africa where many leaders are self-serving and forgetting about the needs of the people. And Gimo tells his children - and us - how education is important, coupled with good, healthy attitudes just as Gimo’s grandmother at the time told him when he was a child  sitting with her at the bonfire in the evening: respect for each other, simple humanity and integrity, helpfulness and solidarity, faith and love.  


CD’s dedication. From the booklet that comes with the CD.

Dedicated to Mandela

When I talked with Gimo on the phone from Aarhus it was with joy that he could tell me that his CD had just been given to Graca Machel, so she could give it to her husband, Nelson Mandela. It was obviously important for Gimo – and not so easy, as everything is. 

The CD 'Tomorrow' is dedicated to Mandela (see text above). And Mandela symbolizes for  Gimo all the good that Africa offers and Gimo wishes with the CD  that Africa and Mozambique – ‘Tomorrow' – be a reflection of that.

Gimo writes in his introduction to the booklet that comes with the CD:

“Africa is so big and so rich and yet what we mostly hear from there are about conflicts, natural disasters, decease, corruptions and poverty. As an artist I prefer to present Africa as a continent full of optimism....more than 60 percent of all Africans are under 25 years of age, and this section of the population should mature. We must therefore invest in education for Africa needs educated people and employment. I see this as a major responsibility which we all must strive towards: artists, governments and citizens – but not just Africans!”

A warm recommendation

There are not many outside of Denmark who will immediately understand the lyrics when they listen to the CD and Gimos songs in Makua, and may be not so many more that will get the lyrics in Portuguese, but it's absolutely no reason not to listen to them. With the booklet  in hand, and may be after reading this review,  the music is so telling and inspiring that when we let Gimo's beautiful, soft voice and rousing music snuggle around us, well, then Gimo sings and plays  right into the  place within us where we believe in everything that is  good in the world. 

'Tomorrow' is a CD which, like its great predecessor ‘A LUZ’ (‘Light’) can be listened to intensely, but may also easily provide a wonderful mood in the house, the guest tender in the soul.

Although Gimo is from Mozambique with a large 'M', he also shows a  broader mind-set in his political and human texts, indeed as an African – with a large 'A', and on the CD you hear musicians from Mozambique, Denmark, Brazil, Cameroon and Rwanda. 

About the themes and messages of the CD 

The double-CD's 19 numbers begin with a strong history of the time of the slavery trade, which Gimo’s grandfather told him about ('The history of a people'). And a number of songs  tell about the many challenges still with us  such as how some of the traditional values disappear with the youth in exchange for a 'crazy world' where ambitions are preventing true human contacts and where alcohol and binge drinking can be the consequence of rootlessness when you turn the back on family and tradition.

A story about the man who returns from the city to the village with fine clothes and bags with gifts for the girls who are happy for him to begin with - but who ends up being isolated ('The World' / 2, hey you / 5, 'The man with the bags' / 11). And the CD also has an answer when it proposes that young people are encouraged to come forward as leaders of the people to ensure that the country's natural wealth and other values will benefit all the people - ('Sudjay' / 7). 

The disc also contains in its beautiful sharing of Mozambican traditions  a number of love songs that tell about relationships, especially between young men and women, and the challenges they may contain (Simae nine Djanina / 3, At Work / 6 First Sight / 8, The woman I love / 9). And a song is about how a man should not insist on his own needs and desires immediately after his wife have given birth, but rather help get the new baby a good start in life ('Mother of a baby' / 13) .

The remainder of the CD numbers call for moral rearmament, 'our leaders are in suits and ties and do not listen to the people' ('suits and ties' / 12), and in 'Take knives and matches away from the kids – Gimo compares Africa and the incessant conflicts with young people’s too careless handling of knives, guns, fire, and says that 'one fire is enough to destroy an entire life's work'.  ('Take knives and matches away from the kids' / 16). As a countermeasure Gimo suggests that "I will pass on our history and cultural values to young people, like my grandmother taught me about life when she told stories by the fire.' (My mother/15.)

Finally  Africa's pride is hailed, as  expressed at independence and naming of the freedom heroes , and ''Mandela 'is now the victory cry from the African continent' (Mandela/14) and the CD’s second to last song is about the won freedom that we should not take for granted, but each single day cherish. An English speaking female voice says: 'Children, young people! Men and women in Africa! Let us fight for peace and not cultivate hatred. Let's join hands and work for a better future for all of us in Africa "('Freedom' / 18)

More on the CD and on Gimo Mendes here: 

The double album released by Gateway Music can be purchased for DKK 118.00 at gatewaymusicshop.dk and in its entirety or as separate digital audio files among other on itunes.apple.com/us/album/Melo-Tomorrow and www.amazon.com/MeloTomorrow-Gimo-Mendes.

Read more about Gimo and his music here:  www.gimomendes.com/uk/bio.html

Listen to (Portuguese) www.voaportugues.com

Contact Gimo for interviews and more information: gimo.mendes @ hotmail.com. Tel: (+45) 40947478




Meu avô contava-me histórias sobre o tormento que muitas nações africanas sofreram durante os vários séculos de dominação colonial. Sobre como, de forma arbitrária, homens e mulheres, velhos e crianças eram presos pelos sipaios. Eram humilhados e torturados para depois serem comercializados como mercadorias. Contava-me também que povos africanos eram desterrados para destinos longínquos onde trabalhavam como escravos nas plantações de café e cacau em São Tomé e Principe, Cabo Verde, Brasil, Goa, Americas e para as índias. Esses homens, mulheres, velhos e crianças nunca mais voltaram. Se África quiser olhar o futuro com otimismo, é necessário que olhemos para o nosso passado. Nós, jovens e velhos, somos a história do passado e do futuro.

My grandfather told me about the cruelties that many African nations were exposed to over several centuries. He told me how men, women and children were highhandedly and groundlessly taken prisoner, ill-treated and tortured by the « Sapios », the Mozambique police who served the Portuguese colonial regime.
The prisoners were chained, bundled together and transported on ships to far-away lands where they were sold as slaves to toil on colonial plantations. They never returned to their homeland.
In more recent times, when the slave transport had ceased, Africans were still sentenced to imprisonment and forced labour by the colonial institutions.

Refiro-me a forma como andamos perdidos e quase loucos no mundo de hoje. A ambição tomou conta do homem que tudo faz para prejudicar a progressão do outro. O ódio tornou-se maior do que a compaixão entre os homens, a inveja impede-nos reconhecer o sucesso do companheiro, do vizinho ou da comunidade. Tornamo-nos ambiciosos pela negativa.

I speak about the way we are lost and almost crazy in today’s world. The ambition has taken care of the man who does anything to hinder the progress of the other one. Hate has grown bigger than compassion between men. Envy prevents us from recognizing the success of our partner, neighbor or community. We became ambitious but in the wrong direction.

3. SIMAE NI DJANINA (nome das mulheres mais bonitas da antiga ilha)
Simae é a homenagem que faço à mulher africana enquanto a fonte e o centro da família. A mulher é, em muitos países africanos, quem cuida do seu marido e dos filhos, trata da educação dos filhos e alimenta a família toda. Inspirado no ritmo "Mwacebua", descrevo em cada tom as mulheres africanas.
Inspirado no popular ritmo tradicional Mwacebwa.

3. SIMAE NI DJANINA (The name of the most beautiful women of the old Island)
Simae is my tribute to the African woman, while the core of the song is the center of the family. In most African countries, it is the woman who takes care of the husband, takes care of the education of the children and feeds the whole family. Inspired by the “Mwacebua” rhythm I describe the African women in each tone.

O Samba, música de tambores, é uma extensão dos ritmos africanos no Brasil, uma festa africana nas terras brasileiras. "Samba" é o sinónimo de festa africana nas terras do Brasil.

Samba, the music of drums, is an extension of African rhythms in Brazil.
An African celebration in Brazilian land. “Samba” is synonymous of African celebration in Brazilian lands.

Com a melhoria das economias e da democracia em alguns países africanos, isto combinado com o surgimento de mais universidades alguns jovens estudam e formam-se, mas também perdem a humildade de reconhecer a sua cultura, as suas origens. Mais preocupados com a riqueza material esquecem a existência de Deus no dia-a-dia e só crêem em em ajuda Divina em momentos de desgraça. O apelo que faço à estes jovens é que a educação universitária não deve ser o fim em si, mas sim como um meio para alcançar o bem estar comum; que o álcool e as drogas não devem servir de refúgio das frustrações da vida. 

5. HEY YOU (an expression from the South of Mozambique)
With the economic improvements in some African countries, combined with the creation of more universities, some youngsters graduate but at same time loose the humility to acknowledge their culture and their origins. In their quest to material wealth, they forget the existence of God in their lives and only believe in divine help in moments of sorrow. My appeal to these youngsters is that university education should not be an end, but a starting point to reach a common good. That alcohol and drugs should not be a refuge away from life frustrations.

Em várias culturas africanas é o homem quem trabalha e ganha o salário para manter  a família e a mulher, fica em casa a cuidar do lar e da família e dos afazeres domésticos. Aconteceu num lar que, logo que o esposo saía para trabalhar a esposa também saia de casa sem cuidar das tarefas domésticas e ia participar nas conversas das mulheres do bairro. Na volta do trabalho o homem tinha de fazer todo o trabalho doméstico. No final do mês, com o salário, notava-se uma mudança no comportamento diferente da esposa que se tornava numa mulher muito carinhosa por causa do dinheiro. A vida de um casal requer muita compreensão e a participação de ambos para reduzir as diferenças e os desafios de cada dia. Para haver amor entre as pessoas é preciso compreensão e tolerância no casal.

In various African cultures, the man is the one who still works to feed the family while the woman takes care of the house and family affairs.
It happened in a household that as the man left to work, his wife abandoned the duties of the house to join the gossiping with the women of the neighbourhood. When returning home in the evening, the husband had to do most of the domestic work himself. But at the end of each month, the wife’s behaviour was changing and she was becoming more attentive and cheerful at the sight of the husband’s paycheck.
The life of a couple requires lots of understanding and participation of both to reduce the differences and the day-to-day challenges
Tolerance and understanding are necessary for love to exist between people.

Africa é um continente com uma população muito jovem e um continente rico em recursos naturais, mas que ainda tem um longo caminho por percorrer para converter a riqueza natural em desenvolvimento e bem-estar dos seus povos. Eu pergunto: O que é que cada jovem pensa sobre o seu país, sobre o seu próprio crescimento e o futuro da sua família? É verdade que a falta de meios tecnológicos dificulta a concretização desse objectivo; com uma população muito jovem e dinâmica, Africa precisa de apostar na formação dos jovens para converter a riqueza natural em progresso e em seu bem-estar. Os jovens deverão deixar de promover conflitos políticos e deverão assumir a sua posição e as suas responsabilidades nesta longa batalha.

Africa is a continent rich with natural resources and a young population, but it still has a long way to go to convert its wealth into development and well-being of its people.
I ask each young man what he thinks about his country, his own future and the future of his family. It is true that technology limitations make difficult the achievement of such objective, but with such a young population, Africa should offer its youth a training to convert the natural wealth into progress and well-being. The youth should stop promoting political conflicts and takeover their positions and responsibilities in this long fight.

Declaração de amor de um homem apaixonado. Um jovem procura convencer à uma rapariga que o seu amor por ela era verdadeiro. Esta, duvidosa, exigiu bens materiais como prova de amor, bens estes que o jovem não podia oferecê-la.  Desapontado desistiu de lutar pela relação, pois não tem tantos bens para uma mulher com tanto interesse material.

Words of a Man in Love. A boy tries to convince a girl about his true love for her. She doubts and asks him to prove it with material goods that are beyond what the young man can provide. Disappointed, he just gave up. He does not possess enough for a girl with such an interest in material things.

9. (17.) KASIAKA
"Kasiaka" é a história de um homem que depois de muitos anos de vida em comum, perdeu a sua amada que, por interesse material e económico, foi viver para casa de um outro homem. Abandonado e triste, o marido vive com saudades da companhia e do carinho da mulher. Como o seu amor é mais forte do que o seu orgulho de marido, pede  para que ela volte à casa se o novo casamento não correr como ela pensou, pois o marido vive a espera da sua esposa.

9. (17.) The woman I love
“Kasiaka” or “The woman I love” is the story of a man whose beloved wife, left him, after several years, to live with another man, for reason of material interests. Feeling sad and abandoned, this man misses the company and the warmth of his wife. But because his love is stronger than a husband’s pride, he asks her to consider returning home where he is still waiting for her, in case her new marriage has not worked out.

"Mwaceta" é um tema dedicado à mulher humilde do bairro. História de um rapaz que escreveu uma carta a confessar o seu sentimento à uma colega da escola, mas esta rasgou a carta. Depois de dois anos a procurar provar o seu amor à rapariga, esta o recusou por ser um jovem de um nível social baixo. Sem mais sentimentos por provar, o rapaz mudou-se do bairro e foi a procura de um outro amor. Poucos dias depois, encontrou uma "Mwaceta" linda e carinhosa que o aceitou como seu namorado. Hoje vivem os dois jovens felizes e apaixonados.

10. MWACETA (Woman from the Neighbourhood)
“Mwaceta” is dedicated to the humble women from the neighborhood. It tells the story of a boy who wrote a letter expressing his feelings to a girlfriend, but she tore up the letter. He spent two years trying to prove his love to the girl but she turned him down because he was from a low social background. Unable to persuade her, he moved away from the neighborhood and went to look for another one to love. A few days later, he met the beautiful and cheerful Mwaceta who accepted him as a boyfriend. Today the two youngsters live together and in love.

As várias mudanças por nós vividas durante séculos em Africa criou-nos incertezas sobre a vida. Não há sentimento entre  os Homens e isso criou o ódio e a inveja. Com "Namala", conto a história de um sujeito que chegou à uma província ido da capital. Na sua viagem levou consigo peças de roupa, objectos de adornos e outros produtos para comercializar. Nos dias seguintes o sujeito passou a atrair a atenção das mulheres dos bairros e esse fato criou inveja entre os homens da aldeia. Hoje já ninguém fala com o sujeito e nem o o sujeito é indesejado no bairro.

The various changes that Africa underwent throughout the centuries have generated uncertainties about life within us. There is no love between men, but hate and envy. In the “Man of the Bags”, I tell the story of an individual who moved from a capital city to a province.
He carried clothes, beautiful outfits and other goods to market.
In the following days, the attention of the women of the area increased towards the man and that made the male villagers envious. Today, nobody talks to him and he is unwanted in the village.

O continente africano ainda sofre de conflitos armados, de catástrofes naturais, de doença, de corrupção, de pobreza, e de outros males. Há medicamentos para tratar as doenças, mas falta dinheiro para os comprar, há tecnologias para minorar os efeitos das catástrofes, mas só poucos têm acesso a esses meios, há condições para acabar com as guerras, mas a necessidade de vender armas e as ambições de uns senhores são maiores do que as necessidades de toda uma nação. Os nossos dirigentes andam vestidos de fato e gravata no dia-a-dia, mas são insensíveis aos problemas do povo.

The African Continent still suffers from recurrent droughts, wars, diseases, hunger and other adversities. There are medicines but no money to buy them.
There are technologies to minimize the impacts of the disasters, but only a few have access to those means.
There are conditions to stop the wars, but the need to sell guns and the greed of a few is bigger than the needs of a whole nation. Our leaders wear suits and ties and are not sensitive to the problems of their people.

Namatotto é a historia de uma mãe que semanas logo a seguir ao parto do seu bebé sente-se "pressionada" para satisfazer a vida sexual do marido. Com um bebé recém nascido, e ainda a precisar dos cuidados da mãe, esta pede ao marido para  esperar que passe um tempo até que o bebé cresça uns meses e sugere ao marido para participar mais na criação do filho comprando leite, fraldas para o recém-nascido e alimento para a mãe.

Namatotto is the story of a mother who, just a few weeks after having given birth is harassed to satisfy the sexual needs of her husband. With a new born baby and still requiring the mother’s attention, the she begs for her husband to give time until the baby grows a little stronger and invites him to participate more in taking care of his son, by buying milk, nappies for the baby and food for the mother.

Africa é um continente de história milenar e uma beleza natural. Africa venceu o colonialismo, a humilhação do "Apartheid" e todas as outras formas de opressão e vive hoje tempos novos. Nelson Mandela é o símbolo mais significativo na luta contra as desigualdades e injustiças entre os Homens no continente africano em particular e no mundo em geral. Como Mandela lutaram Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Eduardo Mondlane e muitos outros filhos deste rico continente. Africa recuperou o seu orgulho e a sua dignidade e voltou a brilhar como o "Arco-íris" onde as cores, as músicas e a beleza das mulheres vestidas de trajes tradicionais reflectem um continente novo e diferente. "Mandela" é um grito de vitória do continente africano.

Africa is a continent with a millenary history and natural beauty. Africa won colonialism, the humiliation of “Apartheid” and all other means of oppression and lives today in a new era. Nelson Mandela is the most significant icon of the fight against inequalities and injustice among mankind of African continent and in the world. Like Mandela, there were also, Kwame N’Krumah, Amilcar Cabral, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Eduardo Mondlane and many other sons from this wealthy continent. Africa retrieved its pride and its dignity, and now she shines like the rainbow, where the colours, the songs and the beauty of the women dressed in their traditional gowns reflect a new and different continent. ´Mandela´ is the victorious cry of the African continent.

A ambição de uma vida boa, luxuosa e fácil leva muitos dos jovens africanos a escolherem caminhos pouco recomendáveis. A Juventude perdeu a dedicação ao trabalho como forma de produzir riqueza e optou pela via da acumulação de riqueza rápida. Quero Transmitir o valor da nossa historia assim como os meus bisavós me o ensinaram quando sentávamo-nos à volta da fogueira e contavam sobre as experiências da vida. Hoje, sem uma clara orientação, assiste-se a um crescente aumento do crime, rapto de pessoas, vendas de órgão humanos e tráfico de drogas no continente africano. "Mamayo" é um apelo à juventude para uma reflexão.

The ambition of a good, luxurious and easy life makes many young Africans choose twisted paths.
The youth lost the commitment to work as a way to create wealth and chose the path to get wealthy through easy and quick ways.
I want to pass on the values of our history just as my grand-grand parents taught me stories about life when we sat around the fire. As the youth has no clear guidance, today we witness an increase in crime, abduction of people, commerce of human organs and drugs traffic in the African continent. Mama nyo is an appeal to the youth to think deeply about it.

Os conflitos em Africa são como as brincadeiras das crianças: os meninos brincam com uma faca e ninguém a arranca, mas quando fere à outra criança isso já torna-se um problema. Os miúdos brincam com fósforos numa varanda onde também tem gasolina e ninguém diz nada, mas basta um soprar do vento para incendiar tudo e provocar desgraças. Como estes muídos são os movimentos africanos que enquanto se armam, não existe uma Comunidade Internacional para intervir e evitar a eclosão de um conflito, mas quando eclode um conflito lá aparece para fazer a PAZ. As nossas democracias são como as nossas casas de construção precária e de coberturas de capim basta um incêndio para destruir todo o trabalho de uma vida.

The conflicts in Africa are like kids’ plays: kids may play with a knife and no body cares about. But if one of them gets hurt, it becomes a problem. Kids play with matches on a veranda where there is also fuel and nobody reacts. But a simple wind blow is enough to burn everything and causes sorrow.
African movements are like these kids. They arm themselves and there is no international community to intervene and to avoid increase in conflicts. But when a conflict breaks out then they come to make peace.
Our democracies are like our precariously grass built houses. One fire is enough to destroy the work of a lifetime.

As independências africanas são tão frágeis como um bebé recém-nascido que precisa de muito cuidado. Com o meu sorriso de criança e a minha mulher de capulana, eu continuo a mesma pessoa humilde, apesar da independência me ter dado mais liberdade. Vivo hoje mais convicto de que ninguém me engana, pois tenho plena consciência de que a liberdade é ainda frágil e precisa de muito carinho. Todos os dias rego as minhas plantas pois precisam do meu carinho como uma criança frágil, tão frágil como as independências africanas.

The African independences are so fragile - like a new born baby that requires a lot of care. With my childish smile and my wife in her traditional cloth, I am still the same humble guy, despite independence has given me more liberty. Today I am more confident that nobody misguides me and I am fully aware that freedom is still fragile and requires lots of care. Every day I water my flowers because they need my care like a fragile kid. So fragile like African independences.