Delighted to welcome the debut live duo performance from Zanzibar-based multi-instrumentalist Mohamed Issa Haji Matona and Irish (now London based) experimental singer-songwriter Àine O’Dwyer. Having only played once before through a chance meeting on BBC 3’s Late Junction, we were instantly blown away by their seamless meeting of traditional music forms, blending their native Tanzanian and Irish tongues and instruments to create a whole new beautifully open and meditative music.
MOHAMED ISSA HAJI MATONA
Born in Zanzibar, Matona is a musician, composer, arranger and songwriter. He is a founder member of the Dhow Countries Music Academy, (DCMA) Zanzibar and as well as being Artistic Director at the Academy he is a teacher and performer of traditional taarab, eastern/Arabic music and theory as well as classical, western, jazz and fusion music.
He is a multi-instrumentalist and plays a variety of instruments ranging from traditional African gambus, nai, Arabic ganun and oud, as well as being a highly accomplished violinist, saxophonist, keyboard player, guitarist and percussionist etc.
He began his musical career performing in several Tanzanian groups as a percussionist, violinist and ganun player and went on to create his own group the “G Clef Taarab Orchestra” which performs jazz, modern taarab and fusion music from the countries of the Indian Ocean.
Matona has performed and recorded in many international festivals and events and enjoys an international reputation as a musician, songwriter, teacher and performer. He is Zanzibar’s most celebrated and highly acclaimed teacher and performer.
Áine O’Dwyer is an Irish composer, and performer based in London. Primarily a harpist, Áine has experimented with a variety of different instrumentation and approaches to her music; covering poetic folk ballads, ensemble compositions, solo improvisations and more. We first discovered Áine’s work via her wonderful “Music For Church Cleaners vol. I and II” release on MIE music – a series of solo improvisations that qualify simultaneously as a live recording, site-specific performance art with a Cagean mindset, and field recording.
Aine’s ongoing recording projects and residencies include the Brunel Tunnel shaft, London and the Franciscan Friary, Limerick city, Ireland. She has performed widely as a solo artist and in collaboration with Mark Fry and the A-Lords, United Bible studies, Visitant (Trevor Knight, Gyohei Zaitsu, and Alice Maher), and Charlemagne Palestine, Cafe Oto, London. Recent solo performances for both harp and pipe organ include Tusk Festival, Newcastle, UK, Full Of Noises Festival, Barrow in Furness and “sound is sound is sound”, London.
“Music For Church Cleaners Volumes I & II is a great addition to the canon of experimental and improvised music, with a lightness of touch and depth of feeling that’s uncommon in many of records of its ilk. Listening to it is like meditation. You can lose yourself for a while, and, when it’s finished, everyday life seems just that bit more bearable.” – Louder Than War