SMS #11 | Juanita Euka – Mabanzo


Juanita kicks it off nice and easy with the smooth and civilly chilled Alma Seca, a good way to get yourself settled and acquainted, then Mbobka Moko is characterised by the saccharine guitars and pulses of brass leading the way and Juanita herself is so serene in her singing.

For All It’s Worth is not only coated in such deliciously tropical vibes but is lyrically poignant, highlighting that despite what an often terrible world we live in, we all have the power to get back on our feet, dust ourselves off and strive to make a positive difference. Suenos De Libertad exhibits tinges of both Latin and even slight hints of the old west, and as a result comes off like a nice, old-fashioned folk number, and the catchy melody of Nalingi Mobali Te is sure to get you moving along.

Blood is another where the writing stands strong, showing sorrow for everybody suffering in their lives while being widely ignored as others are drawn into the publicity of lies to distract them instead of taking the opportunity to help and provide support and empathy. The infectious bluegrass rhythms of Bano De Oro, Motema and Camarades are pure, swimmingly satisfying.

War Is Over continues on from the earlier theme of breaking our way through the dark times and, with a little mental and emotional fortitude, opening up the light to work towards a better prosperous future, and lastly, Juanita ends things with the insanely beautiful and quietly spine-chilling number, Irresolute.

I first became aware of Juanita Euka’s extraordinary talents through her stunning efforts as part of the London Afrobeat Collective, and not surprisingly, she is a ravishing and captivating presence in this solo effort, which is able to spark happiness as well as present an honest look at the negativity on this planet but while making it clear that it is not all futile and we can help make a change.


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