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Thursday 4 March 2010

Tuku Time

Zimbabwe is back in the news at the moment, with South African President Jacob Zuma arguing for the lifting of sanctions during his current visit to the UK. We are not going to use that as an excuse to trot out the usual jokes about hyper-inflation which you will have heard hundreds of times (or, in Zimbabwe, trillions of times). Instead let's focus on something more positive: the Zimbabwean music scene.

If you are in the least bit interested in Zimbabwean music I would heartily recommend the Zimaudio website. It is not clear whether it is still being run actively - the most recent story on the news page dates from 2007 - so I am not sure whether you can still buy music from the site (I haven't tried yet). But there is a lot of information about a huge range of Zimbabwean artists, most of whom I had never heard of previously, a lot of clips to listen to and some excellent free downloads.

Today we feature one of the big stars: Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi. He has been performing and recording for over thirty years, having started off with Thomas Mapfumo in the Wagon Wheels in the late 1970s before branching out on his own with the Black Spirits. Today's selections come from his 1999 album, "Paivepo".

"Kunze Kwadoka" - Oliver Mtukudzi

"Ngoma Nehosho" - Oliver Mtukudzi

According to the sleeve notes, "Kunze Kwadoka" features two "voices" - one a mother asking her daughter where they have been, and the second advising the child's partner to escort her home safely. The message is apparently that "young lovers, especially girls, should be responsible in their affairs". Can we think of any other songs with a similar message? How about this one:

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