The Swedish Mwendo Dawa is one of the longest-standing outfits in the Nordic free-improv scene. This group began working in the seventies – featuring co-leader, pianist and electronics player and composer Susanna Lindeborg, co-leader, tenor sax and EWI player and composer Ove Johansson – who passed away i December 2015 – and drummer David Sundby, with changing cast of bass players – among them Anders Jormin and Lars Danielsson, until Jimmi Roger Pedersen joined Mwendo Dawa in the mid-nineties. «Silent Voice» is the first album of Mwendo Dawa since the passing of Johansson, obviously a tribute to his contribution to the group unique sound and his leadership, released six years after its last one, «Mwendo Dawa Music» (LJ Records, 2012).
Mwendo Dawa (in Swahili: the way to a special goal) is now a trio – Lindeborg, Sundby and Pedersen, but its deep listening, searching mode has not changed much. It has always been about finding Mwendo Dawa own personal path and aesthetics, still, embracing all – free-improv, electronics, contemporary music, fusion, with healthy doses of humor and irony. The trio still finds new expressions, and as before, continues to alter and refine its own language.
The tone of «Silent Voice» – recorded on September 2017 – is quite lyrical and adopts familiar phases of mourning about a dear partner and close friend. The trio moves freely between reserved, even contemplative and melancholic reflections, to celebrating joyful and humorous memories and experiences. The voice of Johansson is not silent at all, as his ideas and improvisations strategies are already ingrained in Mwendo Dawa’s DNA and he is credited with four of the twelve compositions. The interplay of the trio is democratic, letting the piece to develop organically but with a light sense of impatience. The electronics pf Lindeborg and Pedersen sound now as taking a new role, blurring and distorting the emphatic interplay of Mwendo Dawa as a reminder of the great loss of Johansson. The last piece, Lindeborg’s «Deep Sigh» captures this sense of painful loss in the most touching way possible.
Susanna Lindeborg (p, elec), Jimmi Roger Pedersen (b, elec), David Sundby (dr)