FAQ

The Story

The first of its kind, MOJA: A Music Saga is a multi-volume audio adventure that utilizes dialogue between characters, sound effects and original music to tell a story. Think of it as a classic radio play, but with world-class music throughout. Listeners will be able to visualize the characters and settings described using only details from the dialogue, sound effects and the raw emotion from each song.

Moja Muziki is a fictional character created to carry forth the journey of African influenced music in all its strength and beauty. Our saga begins when she is captured and taken from her home in eastern Africa in 1853. Moja’s story represents the diaspora’s triumphant impact on the whole world. Moja: A Music Saga also represents the strength that many harnessed to survive decades of oppression in the United States. In Moja Muziki’s case, music is a light in times of darkness, ever powerful, positive and triumphant.
In addition to Moja, you will meet five other main characters who each represent one generation of her family. Moja’s son, Bili; his daughter, Tattie; her son, Innes; his daughter, Tanya; and her son, Sitano. Each character has his or her own unique struggles based on the time period they are born into, as well as their own passion and love for music. As you meet each new character, you will learn more of how African origins remain in the roots of the music they create, no matter how much it changes over time.

As a musician on the road for most of his life, Carl Gustafson began to wonder where the music he loved, and performed, originated from. When he met blues icon Bobby Rush in 1995, the two became fast friends and talked about creating a live performance show that depicted the journey of African-influenced music over time. Initially, they chose 12 cover songs from different time periods and performsd parts of it at road festivals. After a few shows, they knew they had only scratched the surface of what this project could really be.


“The story had already been written by those who lived it,” Carl explains. MOJA is part of a conscious effort to tell these stories and project the many generations of voices that have historically been silenced.

The Music

Each song in the saga has elements recorded in the location where the coinciding story took place. For example, in Volume 1, the song “Bagamoyo” was written in Bagamoyo. “Abundantly” was written in Tanzania and preformed by Tanzanians. The songs about Cuba were written and recorded in Cuba. Much of Volume Two’s “Congo Square” was written and recorded in New Orleans, Moja and Bili’s first stop in America. Altogether, Moja was recorded in 38 studios across seven countries. USA, Cuba, England, Senegal, Mali, Uganda, Tanzania, as well as certain authentic recorded effects in several other countries.

The production of MOJA spanned under five years –– from 2017 to 2022.

The Moja Saga is a story of the progression of music –– where it came from, where it’s going, how it came about, and why. For this reason, listeners will enjoy this wide variety of completely different genres, all woven together like a beautifully composed quilt. The story begins 169 years ago, continues to present day, and spans thousands of miles across the globe, so you’ll hear A capella, Doo-wop, Gospel, Soul, R&B, Blues, Jazz, Cuban Big Band, Hip Hop, Rap, Pop, Rock, Classical, Bluegrass, Ragtime, African Folklore, Funk, Vaudeville, and  Country/Western music to name a few.

Plus, the characters travel from western to Eastern Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope to Cuba, then to the southeastern United States. The music, in turn, changes with the geography, exposing listeners to traditional African song and dance, Latin/World music from Cuba, and the Southern Gospel, Soul and R&B in New Orleans, Louisiana. As Moja and Bili continue their journey north –– and also, eventually, further west –– we see the beginning of Country, Pop and Rock in America.

Now at www.mojasaga.com, where you will find links to all music streaming platforms. The saga is releasing new volumes monthly. CDs and perhaps some portions in vinyl may become available later. Visit our Home Page for more information.

Yes. The author desires to deliver an accurate, no holds barred portrayal of the events along this journey and a realistic feel for the times and people. The story begins in the young hip hop world in LA and is being told by a crusty old roots music musician who has led a very rough life. To have these characters saying things like fooey, freakin’, shucks, gosh, and gol’ darn it, would lend an immediate and obvious contrivance to the story. The author felt that the violence and torture of the slave trails and dungeons should be graphically portrayed so as not to mollify the horrors that we human beings should acknowledge and never repeat.

The Story

Storytelling with music is how the Moja Saga is delivered.

The History

The Moja Saga was created with a focus on historical accuracy and the raw human emotions that lie behind these events.

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