Ndzuti means shadow in Xichangana, an ancient language of southern Mozambique. This title reflects Ivan Mazuze’s view of his cultural heritage set in a modern perspective.
All of the music is composed by Ivan Mazuze, and is based on his studies of African traditional music in a contemporary “sound” environment. The compositions have grown out of Mazuze’s experience as a musician in southern Africa and his current musical experience with West African musicians in Norway. They present a mix of musical styles, of southern African melodic material on saxophone along with western African vocals and percussion traditions. Into this mixture, Mazuze has added elements of Norwegian vocal phrasing with southern African phrasing.
Among other things, the album includes Mazuze’s blend of typical Norwegian jazz piano with an entire percussion ensemble, African and Norwegian vocals and saxophone improvisation.
Percussionist Sidiki Camara, Mali, is an important part of the Ndzuti album. He contributes with a full djembe ensemble, and instruments such as doundouns and talking drums. Also important are Hanne Tveter’s Latin American and Norwegian vocal interpretations of African melodies. Andre Viervoll sets up the typical Norwegian Jazz piano phrasing expression by providing calmness within percussive moments.
Singer Manou Gallo, Ivory Coast, contributes with her typical way of performing contemporary and traditional western African songs with southern African-based rhythmic grooves.
The Cuban pianist Omar Sosa has also participated, providing spontaneous moments in the studio that resulted in the creation of several compositions during recording sessions.
Mazuze has aimed at creating an album that presents percussion and saxophone melodic improvisation that is deeply centered in southern and western African roots with jazz structured elements. This is one of the Afro-Jazz forms of musical expression.
The album Ndzuti was recorded and officially released in Norway by the Norwegian World Music label namely Etniskmusikklubb. Music Information Center Norway (MIC) has chosen Ndzuti as one of the key albums of the year in Norway during the summer 2012.