Zimbabwe: Thomas Mapfumo
The nearly two hours in this collection fit nicely onto two CDs, should you decide to listen to them the old-fashioned way. They're very well recorded, but only available in compressed mp3 format. Highly recommended, in any case.
To learn more about this release, read Banning Eyre's liner notes.
[A note of caution for users interested in exploring the rest of Calabash's amazing online collection of world music: you will find alternate and incorrect spellings of many song titles, and not all download albums are identical to the original recordings (where they exist). So keep your eyes open and confirm information using other sources.]
This jam-packed compilation includes nearly eighty minutes of material from six recordings dating from '98 to '03, all originally from Anonymous Web Productions. It joins a growing collection of Mapfumo "greatest hits" releases, including the very fine Shumba (for other titles click here).
What makes Choice Chimurenga special is the freshness and overall user-friendly quality of the selection. The guitar-driven lilt of the opening love song, "Sweet Maria," is instantly catchy; "Zimbabwe" floats on a light behind-the-beat funk foundation which slyly worms its way into your brain. Also included: a version of the 1978 hit "Pamuromo Chete" ("It's Just Talking"), which cemented Mapfumo's reputation in the struggle for Zimbabwean independence; a traditional Shona song about hunting, complete with lots of mbira action and huro-style yodeling; and the peppery "Chimurenga" restrospective.
As good an introduction as any to Mapfumo's ever-expanding recent music, Choice Chimurenga has broad appeal. The liner notes explain the poetic meaning behind each song (and remember that Mapfumo is as much about poetry as anything else), placing the material in handy perspective.
Related articles at All About Jazz:
Mapfumo CD reviews:
Rise Up: Kunarira Mukati (7:14); Ndogura Masango (6:42); Mukadzi Wangu (5:44); Handimrotya (7:04); Marudzi Nemarudzi (7:15); Zuacuwana (6:29); Ndodya Marasha (6:54); Hende Baba (5:07); Zvirwere (6:40); Vanofira Chiiko? (6:07); Pasi Harigute (5:41).
Afropop Presents Thomas Mapfumo Live: Nyamaropa (8:55); Jo Jo (10:50); Kupera Kwevanu (10:43); Dangarangu (8:35); Vana Vangu (6:09); Muchadura (10:04); Handina Munyama (6:49); Hondo (6:37); Buka Tiende (9:08); Muramba Doro (7:10); Hanzvadzi (14:31); Swerengoma (15:59).
Choice Chimurenga: Sweet Maria (6:24); Timothy (7:32); Marima Nzara (6:57); Zimbabwe (3:30); Havasevenzi Vapfana (4:45); Manhungetunge (4:42); Pamuromo Chete (6:31); Mamvemne (6:32); Kuende Mbire (6:17); Disaster (5:44); Nyama Musango (8:12); Usatambe Nenyoka (6:25); Chimurenga (6:07).