WITCH – Zango (2023) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

WITCH - Zango (2023) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz] Download

WITCH – Zango (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 42:26 minutes | 473 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Desert Daze Sound

One way or another, 2023 is turning into one heck of a year, as far as new music is concerned. My list of potential candidates for my Album of the Year is already a mighty long one but, this afternoon, a few candidates had to step aside, because Zango, the new album from WITCH, originators of Zamrock and now back to serve up a stunning second helping of that very commodity, is a stunner.

Back in the early and mid-70s, Zambia was the place to be to hear the Western rock, soul and funk styles being given a distinctly African twist. The sounds of Hendrix, The Stones, Cream, Sly, James Brown and British heavy rockers like Deep Purple and Trapeze were causing quite a stir with the local youth; added to that, the rich copper deposits in newly-independent Zambia were attracting migrant workers from all over southern Africa – all with their own cultures and musical traditions to feed into the burgeoning music scene. The result was a distinctive brand of no-holds-barred rock, infused with percussive and resonant African rhythms, all fueled by an attitude that dictated “anything goes.”In the 1960s, a wave of decolonization and independence swept across the African continent, and, by the mid-’70s, many of the “new” countries that had come into existence were flexing their cultural muscles in unique ways. In many instances, long-suppressed artistic traditions were resuscitated to create music, film, and fine art that communicated with international trends on its own terms. Among the many renowned scenes where this was happening was the bristly, defiant rock scene in Zambia. Often colloquially referred to as “Zamrock,” the explosion of rock bands in the country was as inspired by the global youth culture-zeitgeist as it was by a highly specific opportunity: by government edict, nearly all music played on the radio in the country had to be made by local musicians. Scores of bands suddenly exploded onto the country’s rock scene, none making a bigger impact than Witch (We Intend To Cause Havoc), who not only released the first full-length album by a Zambian rock band (Introduction, 1972) but also served as the guiding light for multiple other Zamrock bands throughout the ’70s.

While enormously popular and influential in their home country, Witch suffered lineup changes and decreasing popularity until a 2011 reissue campaign of the seven albums they released between 1972 and 1984 ignited a broader interest in them and in Zamrock as a whole. A 2019 documentary about the band helped lead to their current reformation, and, with original vocalist Emmanuel “Jagari” Chanda back in front, along with ’80s-era keyboardist Patrick Mwondela and a clutch of younger collaborators in tow, they’ve recorded and released their first album of new material in nearly 40 years. Zango hews closely to their original, fiery sound, with plenty of overdriven guitars and garage-psych flourishes. Chanda—now in his seventies—still sounds like a swaggering, soulful, rock god, and while he is often supported on these ten tracks by plenty of melodic instrumentation and a raft of background vocalists, there is none of the wistful mortality-wrestling that afflicts so many other rock singers of his generation. Instead, the band digs into all corners of their trick bag to come up with a wildly varied and fun album. The intense and driving “Waile” is a gritty and sharp bit of funk rock; “Avalanche of Love” nods toward hip-hop cadences while keeping its heart firmly rooted in wah-wah guitars and thrashing drums; meanwhile, “Stop the Rot” is pure red-line, Funkadelic-laced distorto-groove. It all comes together to make an album that’s deeply true to Witch’s core legacy of electrified freedom, while still being unashamedly modern. – Jason Ferguson


1-1. WITCH – By The Time You Realize (04:36)
1-2. WITCH – Waile (05:15)
1-3. WITCH – Nshingilile (feat. Keith Kabwe of Amanaz) (03:04)
1-4. WITCH – Streets Of Lusaka (04:45)
1-5. WITCH – Unimvwesha Shuga (03:42)
1-6. WITCH – Avalanche Of Love (03:55)
1-7. WITCH – Malango (05:42)
1-8. WITCH – Stop The Rot (04:22)
1-9. WITCH – These Eyes Of Mine (04:01)
1-10. WITCH – Message from WITCH (03:00)

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