Earlier this month we had a listen to Issamwera's new release 'Astin min' and we were really impressed with its originality. Making it to Number 3 in our Afrobeats weekly finds, wee decided to find out more! To recap, they told us that their name comes from blending the meaning of two words: "Issam-wera" from Sena (a language from Beira, Mozambique) meaning "to come", Mwera referencing the Mwera tribe in North Mozambique and the word "Samvera" from the Icelandic language, meaning “togetherness.” This track is saucy, unique, and quite mindful through the use of windpipes and afro beats. The guitar solos fit perfectly in the mix and the vocals are beautifully crafted. We can hear the passion in their artistry. Definitely have a listen!
Tamara Jenna caught up with Issamwera in an exclusive interview!
Thanks for joining us today! So tell us how your band name was formed
Band name is ISSAMWERA, a play with words from the "Mwera"
people from the north of Mozambique and "Samvera" meaning
"togetherness" in Icelandic.
We loved your latest release, when was Ástin mín released?
Ástin mín (translation "my love") was one of the first tracks to be
made, it is 5 years old but it was very different from what it is
today. Back then it was only the guitar, and a few melodic words
here and there now, the version that was released in 2021, has a
multitude of instruments, all intertwined with each other.
Where are you based?
Currently I am in LA but I am permanently based in lovely and
The contrast between those two places is massive, I've been to Iceland and you're right, it is unique! Absolutely beautiful part of the world full of fascinating nature. When did you realise that you were an artist?
I think I have always been an artist, but if I have to put a year to it
that would be when I was 15. I had an acoustic guitar that I
started making music with, and I was exposed to metal pretty
early so that was my musical foundation, and it still defines me,
thanks to my sister =). I was lucky to have performed in many
bands from metal all the way to pop and jazz with award winner
musicians from both Iceland and Mozambique.
When creating the track/tracks, who were your biggest artistic
influences? When is your favorite time of day to create?
This is the hardest question, I have no idols, I grew up listening
to everything from country music to metal to African music, and
that shaped a lot of my creative spectrum. So for me, music
comes from what I feel at the moment, if I am happy and I feel
the need to create metal I do, if I am sad maybe I create a happy
pop song to balance out, it really depends on the source of my
feelings and what fits with it, any time of day is creation time.
I must admit, I like it when artists say that they don't have any idols or particular influences from other artists. What motivates you to create?
Feelings, mine, and others, I am an introvert and extremely
observant of peoples magnetic field. So I can sense pretty much
what a person is feeling and how that influences the room or
myself. At the same time of being an introvert I am expressive,
so I take the fluctuations of peoples vibrations, mash with how I
am feeling and how it affects my magnetic field, and then
express it all in music.
How do you define success as an artist?
I think success depends on where we are at the moment, right
now, I look up to bands performing in shows, because this is
what I have missed, and this is where I am myself the most. So
being yourself, expressing yourself as an artist is equivalent as
success, so the more you play the more success you have. Covid
and the pandemic hit us musicians pretty hard and me specially
so without playing live I feel very incomplete.
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
Yeah, I think I haven't met anyone who is not affected by art, art
shapes humanity and vice versa I suppose, and you can find art
in anything even the most logical subjects such as math or
programming (which is what I do for my 9-5).
How do you develop your artistic skills?
By never stopping to create, once we stop creating we loose
touch with our creative side, and disconnect. So playing, filming,
recording, even joining as an extra on the most popular shows
on Netflix helps develop your artistic skills.
What are your ultimate career goals?
To one day play in a large festival with a known musician, I think
by sharing my art with them, or creating something together is
my ultimate goal.
How do you collaborate with other artists?
Today has been quite difficult due to the pandemic, but I am an
open person and love exploring musical genres with any artists
that comes my way. I believe the more I explore the more
cultural knowledge I acquire, and the more cultural knowledge I
acquire the more I grow as a person.
What are your future plans? What can we look forward to for
the rest of 2022?
ISSAMWERA will be finally releasing our highest funded album
this August and we can't wait to start touring in June. I will be
performing with other amazing musicians as well such as the
amazing Sunna Fridjons and energetic Mamadi Barakan Band in
Iceland this summer
I'm really anticipating your album, I can imagine how uniquely beautiful it will be! So glad that the world is able to go back to live music again. Thanks for talking to me today, it's been fun! I wish you all the best with the album and all the creativity that I know you will ooze over the coming years!