Showing posts with label Zimbabwe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zimbabwe. Show all posts

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Oliver Mutukudzi's Sugar Pie

I posted the album Nzara by Zimbabwe's Oliver Mutukudzi a while back, and as promised here is another one by the great master, 1988's Sugar Pie (CSA Records CSLP 5001). There's not much I can say about this one, just that it's great stuff! For more about Oliver, here's an extract from Fred Zindi's very informative Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe (Mambo Press, Gweru, Zimbabwe 1985):

Equally important in the runnings of Zimbabwean music is a slim package of energy with a formidable and husky but sweet voice called Oliver Mtukudzi. Although Oliver is generally regarded as a traditional musician, it is somehow difficult to classify his music. Apart from a few tunes which are sung in English or Ndebele, most of his music has Shona traditional lyrics. The traditional aspect of his music therefore comes from the words he uses for his songs even though the supporting rhythms to these songs are similar to the simanje-manje or mbaqanga beat common in South Africa. There are very few similarities between his beat and the one Thomas Mapfumo is identified with, yet Oliver admits that he has been greatly inspired by Thomas Mapfumo.

Oliver is unique in this respect because he has developed a style no other well-known Zimbabwean groups have and when performing live on stage his 'cough' gimmick (where he punctuates every line of his lyrics with a cough) has become a trade mark unique to Oliver. This sends his fans wild.

Oliver has had a lot of successful hit songs during his career which spans from around the late seventies until now and this is how it all began in Oliver's own words:

"I was born in 1952 and I am the first born in a family of six. I have three brothers and two sisters.

"I went to Chipembere Primary School at the age Of 7 and later went to Highfield Secondary. I left school at the age of 19 in 1971. By then I had already begun to get involved with music seriously. Despite the fact that I decided to become a professional musician in later years, I believe that I was born a musician.

"Before I was ten years of age, I was involved in both the school choir and church choir, singing mainly church songs. At the age Of 16, I already felt that I was an accomplished singer and that year, in 1968, I penned my first song. After had written this song, I asked some of my friends to join in so that we could get a group together. None of my friends were interested, and I said to myself: One of these days when I make this a hit, you guys are going to like it. I'm sorry, I can't remember the title of this song as it was my first tune. Besides I never thought that I would eventually compose many more tunes which would be successful. All I remember about that tune is that it had what we called a jiti or tsabatsaba beat which are the traditional beat sounds of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"A lot of people have suggested that my music has South African links but I describe my music as traditional based invariably on the local sound which began in Zimbabwe before I was born.

"There are several versions of this traditional beat as you well know, depending on the region. There is Mbakumba, Nhxuzu, Katekwe, and Jerusalema, all of which stem from different parts of the country. These are the rhythms I have listened to and somewhere along those lines, lies my own beat. I have tried to combine all these various beats which are the true, free expressions of Zimbabweans from each region where that kind of music is sung and danced to in order to make a national rhythm.

"When I left school in 1971, I started to look for a job. This was one of the most difficult experiences I ever faced, but I eventually found a job as a stationery salesman with a Harare Company. After a year I got fed up with the job because it did not have any prospects at all. Worse still, I hated the job. What I really wanted to do deep down in my heart was to play music, but I was scared of my parents' reaction to this because musicians were and still are classified as beggars, rascals and lawless people in Zimbabwe. I hated the thought of my parents classifying me as one of those people even though really wanted to become a musician.
After I quit the job as a stationery man, I was a 'machayanyoka' (a layabout or an unemployed person) for the next three years. I was still looking for an alternative job but all in vain. After three years of hard-nosed looking, I eventually got my second job as an insurance broker where I was paid on commission basis. This job proved to be very unsatisfactory as I could not make or save any money. Within a period of six months, I had again left this job to seek greener pastures.

"Using my meagre savings I bought my first box guitar. This caused a lot of conflict between me and my parents who did not like to hear the noise I was making with my guitar when, according to them. I should have been out looking for a job. This prejudice was enhanced by the fact that they believed that I was now going to become a dirty, lazy and never-want-to-work layabout who would go around the townships with this guitar in order to earn the odd penny.

"They tried each and every morning to knock some sense into me, but I stood firm. My mother used to cry, "Do you realise that you will never get married if you become a guitar player?" They never thought that we musicians can lead a happy normal life with a bright future.

"At one point, I felt like moving out when this conflict continued but being the first born, I felt that the responsibility to look after my parents rested with me. Besides, I did not have enough money to set up home on my own. However, despite these feelings, I didn't blame my parents for speaking out against my music career for I knew that it was the concern they had about me and my future and the love for me as their son which led them to be so antagonistic. They failed to understand who was going to pay me as a musician. So I struggled hard to make certain that I proved them wrong by showing them that music was just as good a career as any other — with a bright future.

"It was in music that I really felt my career would be found. After trying out two jobs and looking for more in vain, I knew that there was nothing else out there for me except music.

"I later met a friend, Moses Kabubi, who was already an accomplished musician and played with well-known bands such as the Sounds Effects at the time. He is the one who finally showed me how to polish up my guitar playing. After this, I became a proficient guitar player and decided to try my luck in song writing again.

"In 1976, a lot of local musicians were now cutting records with Teal Record Company and with Gallo. I approached Crispen Matema, who was the producer then, to discuss the possibility of recording some of my material. On agreement, I recorded a single called 'Pezuma' with just guitar backing and my sister Bybit singing on it. The single was one huge flop but I was not discouraged by it. From this flop, I learned what was needed to make a hit. I found out how shallow my song writing skills were. I also discovered that I needed more musicians or more instruments to give my music a more commercial basis.

"As a result I joined The Wagon Wheels Band in the same year and concentrated on making better compositions. My theories were proved correct because we then went back to the studios and recorded 'Dzandimomotera' but this time with Gallo Records. This tune became an instant hit and I believe it still is to this day. I must admit that some of my inspiration to write such songs came from Thomas Mapfumo who was already known as the guru of traditional music at the time. As a matter of fact, we shared the stage one day and even though our singing on the same bill was brief, I learnt a lot. He inspired me to do my own thing and to this day I have a lot of respect for the man and his talent. With The Wagon Wheels both Thomas and I toured Kadoma and it was there that he actually gave me this inspiration.

"1 later left the Wagon Wheels and formed my own band. We recorded songs like 'Dzandimomotera' and 'Mutavara' before the band split up. These two songs were major hits countrywide and it was unfortunate that at this exciting stage of my career misunderstandings began to arise. You see, the management which owned the equipment we were using became jealous due to our increasing success. We were forced to break our contract and decided to go our own way, just as Thomas had done in the past.

"After the split, the new line-up was made of Robert, my brother, on keyboards, Bybit, my sister on vocals, James Austin on drums, Joseph Alphonso on bass, Batholomew Chirunda on lead guitar, Felix John on rhythm guitar and three girl dancers, Tsitsi Muchaneta, Eva Mbera and Winnie. We called ourselves The Black Spirits.

"Even though we had made successful hits, we had still not reached a full musical direction. On stage, we still concentrated on foreign music particularly Zaire's rhumba. I suppose we were attracted to their style because musicians from Zaire (then known as Congo) had better recording facilities than those which existed in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia).

"But as I wrote more and more songs, we found ourselves increasingly playing more and more of our own material on stage. My first album was released in 1978 and this was called 'Ndipeiwo Zano'. It did very well. With so much success in the music world, my parents began to view things differently now.

"When my first royalties came, I took the money home to them and showed them how I was going to make my living. From that day onwards, I have had their full support. They have not looked back either.

"My greatest moment came towards the end of 1979 when the curfew, imposed because of the war situation in Zimbabwe, was lifted. I took advantage of this and put my band on the road. For the first time, the whole country was able to see our live act and of course this increased record sales. We had not toured before for fear of harassment by security forces.

"My future plans include touring countries in East Africa and West Africa as I would like to convince the rest of Africa that Zimbabwe, although a small country, has a vast resource of talented and top musicians who can stand out on their own and beat the rest of Africa. After this, it will be Europe and perhaps America and I would like to do all this before I am 40, otherwise I will never make

Oliver has toured most of the neighbouring countries including Zambia, Botswana and Malawi where his music has been greatly appreciated. Between 1978 and 1985, he released ten albums which are: 'Ndipeiwo Zano', 'Afrika', 'Ndapota', 'Chokwadi Chichabuda', 'Muroyi Ndiani?', 'Shanje', 'Maungira', 'Greatest Hits', 'Nzara' and 'Hwema Handirase'.

Almost all of his recordings carry the same social themes: starvation, poverty and suffering. These melancholic and sorrowful messages have managed to successfully touch the emotions of the people who buy his records to the extent that they now regard Oliver as their source Of inspiration. In the L.P. 'Nzara' (which means starvation), he concentrates on themes such as drought, baby-dumping, and the evils of society.

Oliver has recently become well versed in controlling his own fate by becoming a business manager of his own affairs even though he still works with music promoter, Jack Sadza. He has had his ups and downs in business. For instance, when he was contracted to a Highfield night club, he found that he could not make any extra money in spite of a lot of offers that were put forward to him because the management would not agree to this. When he eventually left that night club, he made more money through live performances than he ever realised he would.

Lately, Oliver has begun to write Ndebele songs which he originally writes in Shona, then gets someone else to do the translation. His attempts at writing English songs seemed not to have had a wide approval from his fans. For instance, the song 'Ghetto Boy' which he recorded in 1982 and gave it a reggae beat was not applauded by most of his fans and critics seemed to tear this new idea apart.

Between 1982 and 1983, Oliver left his band, The Black Spirits after some misunderstandings and joined the Ocean City Band. This was a major set-back for him because this new band could not play his beat the way he had wanted them to and they were taking a long time to build up. Defeated, he went back to the Black Spirits to find that some of the members had left to join other groups. By January, 1985 the line up of the Black Spirits stood as follows: Max Chiwara (who succeeded Bartholomew Chirunda) on lead guitar, Robert Mtukudzi on rhythm guitar and keyboards, Joseph Alphonso on bass, Julius Manduma on vocals and percussion, Innocent Makoni, vocals, James Austin on drums, Nicholas Kunaka on vocals (doubling up on bass) and Felix John on rhythm. Oliver is a very subdued person who only speaks when spoken to yet when one sees him in action On stage, they are likely to get the impression that he is an extrovert. He is a very serious-minded person with a lot of self discipline. He is very modest about his capabilities, but there is no doubt that he has made his mark in the history books of Zimbabwe's most talented musicians. 
Enjoy Sugar Pie!

Oliver Mutukudzi - Rongai Mhuri

Oliver Mutukudzi - Tenda Ishe

Oliver Mutukudzi - Sugar Pie

Oliver Mutukudzi - Nhaka

Oliver Mutukudzi - Chipembebene

Oliver Mutukudzi - Sons of Africa

Oliver Mutukudzi - Unenge Paneni

Oliver Mutukudzi - Paida Moyo

Download Sugar Pie as a zipped file here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"The Otis Redding of Zimbabwe" (Eyeroll)

Oliver "Tuku" Mutukudzi has been called "The Otis Redding of Zimbbawe," a comparison that has always irritated me. Oliver Mutukudzi isn't the Otis Redding of Zimbabwe, he's the Oliver Mutikudzi of Zimbabwe - his music stands on its own, it's unique and incomparable. Moreover, these sort of analogies, well-meaning, often made by publicists and music journalists, seem really ethnocentric, as if American or European music is the baseline against which all other music is defined.

End of rant. Born in 1952, Oliver grew up in Highfield, the historic African "ghetto" of Harare (called Salisbury under Ian Smith's racist Rhodesian regime) and learned to play a homemade instrument from a book called "It's Easy to Play the Guitar." He started singing gospel music and in 1975 joined Thomas Mapfumo in the Wagon Wheels band. By the '80s, as a solo artist, he had acheived massive fame in Zimbabwe, with many best-selling singles and albums and growing popularity across Southern Africa. By the turn of the century, several international releases and tours had made Mutukudzi, along with Mapfumo, one of the two most popular Zimbabwean musicians in the world.

Here is Nzara (Kudzanayi BL 459), a 1983 release that showcases Tuku at the peak of his powers, his soulful voice soaring above inspired arrangements and a variety of styles. Enjoy!

Download Nzara as a zipped file here. I have another album by Oliver Mutukudzi, Sugar Pie, that I'll be posting soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Advance Kusugar! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 3

We conclude our overview of DiscAfrique's Zimbabwe Hits compilations with Volume 3 of the series - Advance Kusugar! (DiscAfrique AFRI LP 006, 1988). Some of the biggest names of late '80s Zimbabwe music are here, and some lesser-known talents as well.

Jonah Moyo founded Devera Ngwena ("Follow the Crocodile") in 1979 to entertain the workers at Mashaba Asbestos Mine, which became their sponsor. Their combination of Congolese rumba and indigenous sounds immediately became a sensation, the group waxing numerous singles like "Solo na Mutsai," "Taxi Driver" and many others, including this offering, "Karekita"."What's your problem? Love can't be bought. It floats like the wind."

Explorations of the mbira, or thumb piano, by Master Chivero, about whom I've not been able to find anything. "Get on your bike and go after the sweet one. Marry her and do not lose her."

R.U.N.N. Family was made up of members of the Muparutsa family. The song is a tribute to the then-recently-departed President of Mozambique, who died in a plane crash under suspicious circumstances, probably the work of South Africa. He is compared to other African freedom fighters: "Someone keeps stirring and heating the pot. [Herbert] Chipeto, [Steve] Biko and now Samora Machel. They kill our friends. We can only pray to God and remember the inheritance of Samora Machel. Our life is the struggle."

Here are the Jairos Jiri Band, whom we remember from Take Cover!, the first volume of Zimbabwe Hits. "Chiedza is so beautiful. Her face is like a snake's egg. The sun is rising and she is my morning. I love her and will marry her."

More friends from Take Cover! "Business in town. 'Father, my business has failed. I do not want to steal. I will join the service economy. The gift of business, alas, I did not have it." 

"Nehanda, the grandmother of the ZANU people prophesied that one day they would rule themselves in a happy and free Zimbabwe."

"Ndicheni" is possibly in the Chewa language, and might be about a woman who abandons her children to go drinking in town.

"Mother, father, welcome your son. I have killed a buck and a kudu." 

"I love you more when you are happy." 

"Speak! Talk! Say what you have to say. The disadvantages of polygamy. How many women can you offer the sun and moon? How many wedding dresses will you spin from the flowers and trees? Will they believe you and how do you expect to be treated? Hell hath no fury like a woman spurned." 

"Friend, the beer hall or the church? Choose your road. Remember that to drink is a sin against God." 

Download Advance Kusugar! as a zipped file here. Researching this post I found the book Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe by Fred Zindi (Mambo Press, Harare, 1985) very helpful. Descriptions of the songs were provided by the liner notes of Advance Kusugar!.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Goodbye Sandra: Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 2

We continue our exploration of the rockin'sounds of '80s-era Zimbabwe with Goodbye Sandra, the second volume of the Zimbabwe Hits series (DiscAfrique AFRILP 05, 1988). In contrast to the first outing in the series, this one features only four artists, but they're all great. Let's go!

We remember John Kazadi from Volume One of Zimbabwe Hits - Take Cover! John was originally from Lubumbashi, Congo, and here covers the lovely song "Le Bucheron" by the Congolese singer Franklin Boukaka. "Evoking the ancestors and those who died for liberation. It's time to enjoy the fruits of freedom and rejoice.":

Many reading this need no introduction to Oliver Mutukudzi. Apart from Thomas Mapfumo, he's probably the best-known Zimbabwean musician in the world, and no wonder - his deep, soulful voice is unparalleled. "Nzara" recounts the hunger and suffering during a drought:

During the Zimbabwe War of Liberation musician Simon Chimbetu fled into exile in Tanzania, where he joined the Zimbabwe African National Union and entertained its troops in exile. Shortly after Independence he joined with his brother Naison to form the Marxist Brothers. The brothers split in 1988, Simon forming the Dendera Kings and Naison forming the Gee 7 Commandos. In "Goodbye Sandra" the singer is bidding adieu to his foreign girlfriend and returning home to Zimbabwe:

The Sungura Boys were the band of John Chibadura (John Nyamukoko). Chibadura was born in 1957. Orphaned at an early age and forced to abandon his schooling, he worked a number of menial jobs before distinguishing himself on the guitar and founding the Holy Brothers with his friend Shepherd Chinyani. After a number of personnel and name changes the group became the Sungura Boys. At some point (either 1983 or 1985) John left to form his own band, the Tembo Brothers. Sadly, John Chibadura died in 1999. "Soweto" is "a song about suffering, pain, hardship and death in the struggle for freedom":

"Love is blind. If only it could stay that way."

"Africa" is "about the liberation of all Africa as the struggle for decolonization continues":

"A disease that has killed the singer's sister and uncle now afflicts his grandmother. Leaving the city to join her, his train breaks down":

"Tungamira" is about a young friend "who dies without a chance to say goodbye. He is asked to lead the way to heaven (or peace)." I will be posting more music by Oliver Mutukuzi on Likembe in the future: 

A sarcastic song about Abel Muzorewa's hapless "Zimbabwe/Rhodesia" regime, which held sway for only a few months before Independence in 1980. "How can a country possess two names?" I will be posting more music by John Chibadura on Likembe in the future: 

A dub version of the opening tune:

Download Goodbye Sandra as a zipped file here. Researching this post I found the book Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe by Fred Zindi (Mambo Press, Harare, 1985) very helpful. Descriptions of the songs were provided by the liner notes of Goodbye Sandra.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Take Cover! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 1

Take Cover! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 1 (DiscAfrique AFRI LP 01, 1986), and its sequels, Goobye Sandra: Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 2 (DiscAfrique AFRI LP 05, 1988) and Advance Kusugar! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 3 (AFRI LP 006, 1988) capture a magic moment in African music - the optimistic years immediately after Zimbabwean independence in 1980. Thomas Mapfumo and the Bhundu Boys are familiar artists from this period, but these collections highlight musicians who aren't as well-known outside of Zimbabwe. I'm pleased to offer Take Cover! today, with the other two volumes to follow soon.

The Jairos Jiri Band has been one of the leading musical congregations of independent Zimbabwe. It is the official orchestra of the Jairos Jiri Rehabilitation Centre, which for six decades has worked to to rehabilitate and integrate into society Zimbabweans with disabilities. All of the members of the band are "disabled" in one way or another, and Paul Matavire, who led the group for a number of years, was blind. Matavire left the band in 1995 and died in 2005. Following a period of inactivity, the Jairos Jiri Band was recently revived under the leadership of Stewart Njodo."Take Cover" refers to the privations Zimbabweans suffered during the bitter struggle against white minority rule:

Ephat Mujuru (1950-2001) was well-known to African music aficionados in the US, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where he was resident for many years at the University of Washington in Seattle, lecturing and teaching the mbira (thumb piano). Mujuru founded his first musical group, Chaminuka, in 1972, renaming it Spirit of the People after the fall of the Rhodesian regime in 1980:

The Family Singers, led by Jonathan and Shuvai Wutawunashe, were a leading Zimbabwean gospel group of the '80s. "Tarira Nguva," their first single and a smash hit, shows the clear influence of American country-western music. Shuvai Wutawanashe sings, "All Christians must work hard to uphold Christianity, as the devil is working hard to destroy us.":

The O.K. Success had their origins in Congo, but since their arrival in the former Rhodesia in 1960 they have become thoroughly Zimbabwean, both in personnel and in the subject matter of their music. The lead singer of "B.P.," James Chimombe, got his start with Thomas Mafumo's Acid Band before moving on to O.K. Success, and later recording with the Huchi Band and Ocean City Band. In 1990 he became the first prominent Zimbabwean musician to die of AIDS. The lyrics: "To err is human my friend. We all make mistakes at some stage in our lives":

Over on the Electric Jive blog Tony Hunter describes his first encounter with Africa Melody: “...I had a friend who lived in Kwe Kwe and I stayed with his family. There was a band that’s sound captivated me. Africa Melody was led by a guy called John Kazadi who I think came from Lubumbashi [Congo]. The few references to the band describe it as sungura music but to me it had less of rhumba feel and at times more of country rock sound with the guitars right upfront...." "John Waenda" is about a widow whose husband died, leaving her no money to look after her children:

Born in the late '30s, Safirio Madzikatire ("Mukadota") became well-known as a comedian with his own radio program, "Mhuri Yekwa Rwizi." He soon transitioned to making music with various musicians, including the Brave Sun Band, led by his son Elijah, the Mukadota Family and this group, the Sea Cottage Sisters. In this song a man named Dickson apologizes to his girlfriend for letting her down and begs her to take him back:

In this song, a man named George leaves his long-time girlfriend for a nurse who buys him a car:

I'm not sure if there is any relationship between this Super Sounds and another group called the Ndolwane Super Sounds. In "Chipendani" a young man inherits a fortune from his father but soon squanders it. To survive he is forced to make his living as a herder:

A tribute to the late Jairos Jiri, founder of the Jairos Jiri Rehabilitation Centre, which has worked for six decades helping disabled individuals who have been abandoned by their families:

BBC Radio host John Peel described The Four Brothers band as "the best live band in the world." From 1977 to the early 2000s they were a mainstay of the Zimbabwe music scene, finally succumbing to the death or disablement of the founding members. There have been efforts to revive the group, with limited success. "Wapenga Nayo Bonus" decries the practice of people spending their yearly bonus unwisely:

"Katarina" was one of the biggest hits in Zimbabwe during the '80s. A young man desires to leave his home because everyone is jealous of his relationship with a beautiful dancer named Katarina. Later he decides he will ignore the gossip and stay at home:

Enjoy this video of Mukadota and the original "Katarina":

"Amayo" is in Chewa, a language spoken in neighboring Malawi. A young man objects to the woman his mother has picked for him to marry:

Download Take Cover! Zimbabwe Hits Vol. 1 as a zipped file here. Researching this post I found the book Roots Rocking in Zimbabwe by Fred Zindi (Mambo Press, Harare, 1985) very helpful. The translations of the lyrics are taken from the US edition of Take Cover! (Schanachie 43045, 1987).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Double Dose of Dembo

Some years ago Sterns/Earthworks released a CD entitled Roots Rock Guitar Party. I remember thinking at the time: how can you assemble a collection of Zimbabwe's greatest guitarists and not include Leonard Dembo?

I would presume that the only reason Dembo was omitted from this otherwise excellent compilation was a matter of licencing. In the early '90s, he had risen to the pinnacle of the Zimbabwean music scene, only to die prematurely of AIDS in April 1996.

Dembo was born as Kwangwari Gwaindepi in 1959 and gained notice in 1982 as a member of a band called The Outsiders. Disagreements with his band-mates followed, and in 1985 he established Barura Express, which quickly notched a series of hits, notably the 1991 smash "Chitekete," about a young man who wishes to marry a beautiful lady. It is one of the biggest-selling Zimbabwean records of all time and is played at weddings to this day.

The Barura Express cassette The Singles Collection Vol. 2 (Gramma ZC 108) is a singular example of modern African guitar music, notably the opening tune "Zii-Zii," a song about a lover who is far away, whose repetitive motifs evoke a feeling of restrained euphoria:

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Zii-Zii

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Dudzai

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Kodzero

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Kukura Hakutane

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Gire

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Sheri Unodada

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Ndipeiwo Pokupotera

The Very Best of Leonard Dembo (Gramma ZC 113), covers some of the same ground, and includes "Chitekete":

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Shamwari Yangu Warova

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Venenziya

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Dudzai

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Wada Ne N'anga

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Chitekete

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Manager

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Sharai

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Vane Mazita Ngavaremwkedzwe

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Kukura Kwedu

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Zii-Zii

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Dambudzo

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Murombo

Leonard Dembo & Barura Express - Kukura Hakutane

Read about the Zimbabwean artwork in this post here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Real Rumbira Sounds

A major force in the Zimbabwe music scene of the 1980s, the Real Sounds of Africa were in fact founded by a group of Congolese musicians in Zambia in 1975. Moving to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia under the white-minority government of Ian Smith) in 1978, they became an immediate sensation, releasing their first LP, Harare (Zimbabwe ZML 1015), in 1984.

The foremost Congolese-origin band in Zimbabwe, the Real Sounds forged a unique blend of rumba music and indigenous sounds that they called rumbira. Success followed upon success, and in 1986 the group toured Europe, releasing two albums in the UK, Wende Zako (Cooking Vinyl COOK 004, 1987), and Seven Miles High (Big Records BIG 1, 1989).

I don't know what has become of the Real Sounds, but their music, especially their football songs, continues to be popular to this day.  Enjoy Harare!

The Real Sounds - Kapinga

The Real Sounds - Ozweli Ngai Mbanda

The Real Sounds - Baninga

The Real Sounds - Harare

The Real Sounds - Chamunorwa

The Real Sounds - Dynamos Versus Caps (0-0)

Download Harare as a zipped file here.