Mau Mau (band)
Mau Mau live at Mazdapalace, Milan on June 29, 2006
|Genres||Folk, world music|
Bienvenu Tatè Nsongan
Mau Mau is an Italian band from Turin. It was formed in 1991 as a continuation of the underground cult group I Loschi Dezi.
The band, which mixes African and Latin traditions, was formed in 1991 by Luca Morino and Fabio Barovero, from the Piedmont region of Italy, and Bienvenu Tatè Nsongan, from Cameroon. The band's name has a double meaning: it references the Kenyan Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule, and, in the Piedmontese language, Mau Mau designates "people who come from afar".
The band released their first EP, Soma la macia (We are the scrub) in 1992. Sung in Piedmontese, the EP attracted the attention of Peter Gabriel, who invited them to record their first full album at his Real World Studios. The result was Sauta Rabel (Let's Jump, Let's Make Such a Row). It was followed by a tour of festivals, including appearances at the Palestine International Dance & Music Festival and the International Festival of Babylon in Iraq.
In 1994, Mau Mau returned to Real World Studios to record their second album, titled Bàss paradis (Low Paradise). They dedicated it to all people who suffered under colonialism. The album was released in quite a few European countries, as well as in Japan, and was followed by a tour numbering over 100 performances.
Their third album, Viva Mamanera, was released in 1996. It was recorded with Eric Sarafin in Los Angeles, Paris (including in the Paris Metro) and Turin. Viva Mamanera includes more electronic sounds than earlier releases, and was successful in Italy and in France.
Subsequently, the principle band members travelled to Morocco to study Arab culture and to work with artists of different backgrounds. The result of this experience was Eldorado, the band's 1998 album. It includes a collaboration with the "Meninos do Pelo" (the street urchins of Salvador de Bahia). The promotional tour began at the "Feira das Mentiras", Manu Chao's festival in Santiago de Compostela, (Galicia). After the tour, the band organized the "PiemontAfrique Festival" in Turin to promote the Africans culture.
In 2000, EMI released Safari Beach, the fifth album of the band, a collaboration with Sargento Garcia. The album was less successful than earlier releases. Marasma General, Mau Mau's first live album, is released in 2001. It includes a collaboration with Inti-Illimani on the song Eldorado. The band went on hiatus after the release of the live album.
During the break, Luca Morino wrote for the newspaper La Stampa and released a solo album called Mistic Turistic/Moleskine Ballads. Fabio Barovero founded the folk band Banda Ionica and wrote soundtracks for movies, including Davide Ferrario's Dopo Mezzanotte (After Midnight) and Alessandro d'Alatri's La Febbre.
Mau Mau returned in 2006 with the album Dea, which combined Brazilian and Piedmontese traditions and includes a collaboration with Sud Sound System. The tour in the same year included performances at the inauguration day for "Turin Rome—World Book Capital", organized by Subsonica. At this show the band plays a version of its song Campeador de Vigna that weaves together the thread of the Miguel Cervantes's Don Quixote. The band also organized the inauguration day of "Terra Madre" in Turin.
- Luca Morino - voice, guitar
- Fabio Barovero - accordion, keyboard
- Bienvenu Tatè Nsongan - percussion, voice
Compilations and lives
- 1994 "Adorè"
- 1996 "La Ola"
- 1998 "Eldorado"
- 1998 "Per Amor"
- 2000 "Due Cuori"
- 2006 "Dea"
- 2006 "Qualcuno verrà da te"