Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Juanita Euka : Mabanzo




Rate this Album

UK release date 25.03.2022

The stars seem to be aligning for this invigorating and enticing singer who came shining through as the front woman for the excellent London Afrobeat Collective.

Now signed to Strut as a solo artist let’s fast forward to this new gem. A dizzying array of Afro Cuban, Congolese, 80’s Boogie and much more besides. Juanita exudes a style and freshness that is totally infectious. Its unusual sounds and unshakeable confidence in herself is what makes ‘ Mabanzo ‘ a genuine work of art. We loved her previous single ‘ No Lingi Mobali Te’ here at B&S towers and the long player does not disappoint considering it was all done remotely during lockdown.Props to producer Greg Sanders for his crystal clear efforts - he’s done a superb job conjuring a global travelogue of music on the move.

‘Alma Seca’ opens with its punchy bassline reigning supreme a sensual number indeed, no wonder it was used in ‘Killing Eve’. Sets the steamy mood perfectly leading into the Latin funkiness of ‘Mboka Maka’ that sounds like a cross between Dido and Grace Jones adorned with EWF type horns and like most of the tracks ( extremely well arranged ) it hits the sweet spot and mark.

‘Sueños De Libertad ‘really highlights what a great singer Euka is she exudes pure passion with gorgeous spanish guitar and tres and lush violins over strident rhythms this is a veritable tour de force.

‘Blood’ is another highlight Latin tinged lushness with crisp electric piano and guitar you could imagine Carlos Santana gatecrashing this driving rhythm of a tune and blowing all over it ! Not required it’s in the hands of Juanita who nails it emphatically.

‘Motema’ emphasises her more African roots with unusual organ and entwining sounds highlighting how incredibly well all these styles sit together on this eclectic and brilliant platter. Let’s hope she gets out and plays live where no doubt these tunes will sound as life affirming as they are written.Suffice to say this girl is far ahead of the competition
and forging her highly engaging sound brightly onwards and upwards.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter