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First up, naturally, was where the name comes from:
“The name comes from a mythical creature from Tanzania called the Mngwa, which is a giant cat-like creature, which I came upon one late night of falling down a cryptozoology hole online,” said Nick Lagasse. “Everything from the pronunciation to the meaning is a minor point of contention too. Because on a trip to Tanzania, I found almost nobody had ever heard of this beast that is apparently in stories and songs, and one Swahili speaker looked at the word and pronounced it ‘mm-Wah,’ like a kissing sound.”
So it’s an energetic kiss or a sharp claw to the face, depending on who you talk to. That could also describe how the eight musicians approach the music they make, which can range from the driving, hip-hop heavy opening track Lit Up! to the surf-and-strings trippiness of Curandero. The group members — Igor Barbashin (keys), Max Bentsianov (guitar), Roberto Cruz (vocals, percussion), Anton Ayzikovsky (drums), Pavel Burakov (violin), Boria Mandlis (percussion), Lagasse and Escobar — are all multi-instrumentalists, and an additional eight musicians are featured on the recording. The Strange One is a big-sounding affair.