Travelling through the genre

Thomas Mapfumo: African Classics (Sheer Sound)

Thomas Mapfumo’s African Classics is a 14-track capsule of the history and journey of Chimurenga music. The CD contains the four main ingredients of the genre: lyrics laden with rocket-propelled grenades, an awareness of the Zimbabwean nation and its troubled politics, the throbbing ancestral sound of the Shonas and the influence of other sounds, especially jazz, rock, rhumba and reggae.

The jangling Chiiko Chinotinetsa kicks off the proceedings. Track number two is Ndatomutswa Nengoma, a fast-paced folk song laid over a drum tableau, a motif continued in the third track, Nyati. Harare is a horn-accented song in which the vocalist wails about the problems of living in the city. Vakarwara Neshanje is a traditional chorus brought to life by the metallic strumming of the lead guitar. An album of this kind wouldn’t be complete without the anthemic Chiruzevha Chapera, a song announcing the end of an era. This is a carefully selected and well-thought-out introduction to Chimurenga music.

Percy Zvomuya


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