The long awaited CD “Double Focus” by the Tanzanian poet and musician Ras Nas aka Nasibu Mwanukuzi is set for release in Oslo, Norway, in November this year. The CD contains music and spoken word. Recorded at Urban Sound studio in Oslo by the legendary recording engineer Jock Loveband, “Double Focus” brings together musicians from Mali, South Africa, Norway, Bangladesh and Brazil. The poems are based on an anthology of poetry by Nasibu published by Kongoi Productions in 1989.
"Double Focus" is a continuation of the ancient African oral tradition of storytelling through poetry but taken a step further. The ngoni, an ancient African stringed instrument played by Sidiki Camara from Mali, creates a mellow and dream-like mood on two of the tracks. The African marimba by Zwai Mbula from South Africa provides a strong warm groove on some other tracks, while the strange and inventive sax of Rolf-Erik Nystrøm from Norway gives Double Focus a truly original energy. The Amazon Ensemble from Brazil and the singer Kohinoor from Bangladesh have also taken part, making “Double Focus” a rare universal product that is worth having by any music and poetry lover.
Nasibu started reciting poetry with Sayari, a group that combined poetry, mime, music and dance in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in early 80’s. Among the highlights was reciting one of his poems “June 16 – Memories of Soweto” for Nelson Mandela in Oslo in 1992. – “After the performance Mr. Mandela personally encouraged me to continue to write and recite poetry. That was one of the greatest moments in my life”, says Nasibu who has also produced two albums under his artist name, Ras Nas. The albums, both of which have been highly acclaimed by music critics, are “Cut You Loose” and “Dar-es-Salaam”.
Nasibu’s biggest influence came from the poets Kwesi Brew, Keorapetse William Kgositsile and Langston Hughes, all three masters in the art of creating paintings in the form of words. Nasibu Mwanukuzi, also incidentally a painter in the traditional sense, speaks with a raw and honest voice about issues of the heart, injustice, and life.
These powerful themes combined with inspired performances from both Nasibu and his musicians are what make this an exceptional and original album. “Double Focus” will soon be available at CD Baby, Itunes and Amazon, among other music outlets.