Shiwezwa is the first album from a singer-songwriter with an interesting family line.
Namvula Rennie was born in Zambia, where her Zambian-Scottish parents were missionaries, and she spent her childhood in Switzerland and Kenya before being sent to school in the UK. She was named after her great-great-great grandmother – Namvula means Mother Of Rain – and her aunt Maureen Lilanda is one of Zambia’s leading singers and musicians. All of this, plus a group of top London-based African and jazz musicians, including Scottish drummer John Blease, goes into an album that sounds at times as if it, too, might have been made in Zambia. Namvula sings in her native Lenje as well as English and Portuguese. Sign Of The Times has a more Scottish influence and Old Man is more transatlantic but Na Ndayeya, with its Iberian tinge and kora party section, underlines Namvula’s status as a citizen of the world and, along with the hi-life beat of Andorinha, bodes well for her taking this music out on the road.