saxophone jazz mozambique moreira chonguica interview perkolate online

September 2016. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Moreira Chonguica - courtesy of

The multi-award winning saxophonist, ethnomusicologist, producer and composer Moreira Chonguica is a celebrated musician from Mozambique. In just a few weeks he will be joining the likes of Lira, Jonathan Butler and Houston Person at the annual Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival. I got a chance to talk to the enthusiastic musician about his participation in the festival and his passion for culture.

Tell me about your participation in this year's Joy of Jazz?

Moreira: I'm a big fan of the concert and I like the energy of Joburg as a whole. It's been a while since I played in Joburg so the pressure on me is big.

What I like about Joy of Jazz is they've managed to break the stereotype of the idea that the best jazz only come from America. With all due respect. They bring people from all over the world. And that in a way resembles the character of Johannesburg which is a cosmopolitan city. And being a citizen of the world, it's amazing.

“...I'm in love with challenge, it makes me hyper creative...” - Moreira Chonguica

I saw you've been very busy in Mozambique, what project are you working on?

Moreira: Regarding our project in Mozambique, it's a festival called More Jazz Series which this year is going to the sixth edition. We've been trying to in a way, not copy, but use the references like Joy of Jazz or Cape Town International to make Maputo a better city as well, using culture.

For me, More Jazz is a product that uses jazz as a vehicle to promote cultural tourism. And cultural tourism for us involves everything, from music to architecture. So if you want to come to Mozambique to eat prawns, you can come, but you'll also see amazing architecture. You will also meet amazing people and listen to good music and good jazz.

I was very impressed with how things have improved in Mozambique. How do you see things there?

Moreira: Let me tell you, I'm not gonna come to you and say no, it's easier, everything is easier, no. What I love most is a challenge. I'm in love with challenge. Because it takes me out of the comfort zone. It makes me hyper creative.

I'm saying you are happy yes, but you can do more.

That's the attitude that us as Africans in general, we have to have. We cannot sit and think we've made it. I'm talking about in all spheres of society, I'm not just talking about music, I'm talking about economy - everything. We need to take ownership and have the attitude not to be comfortable. I believe from the moment we feel we've made it, we've done it, we're done. If you think I've recorded an album, I've been on TV, I've made it, that's the beginning of the end.