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Album Review

While the two discs on Anonymous Web prior to Chimurenga Explosion have been substandard in Mapfumo's discography, Chimurenga Explosion is a return to form, reminiscent of the extraordinary depth and reflectiveness of releases like Hondo and Chamunorwa. The recording was roughly split between a studio in Oregon and one in Harare, but the American setting doesn't seem to hamper Mapfumo in any way, and his band is in top form, relaxed and upbeat. In fact, this disc exudes a general good-natured optimism that hasn't been present in Mapfumo's music since Vanhu Vatema, and Chimurenga Explosion may in fact be one of his happiest. From the very first notes of "Musanyepere," you know you're in good hands. "Mamvemne" begins with the classic Mapfumo formula of a short introduction pausing to let the mbiras introduce the main groove. And Mapfumo's falsetto singing in the chorus of "Nherera" is simply heavenly, worth the entire album by itself. Besides the band as a whole, guitarist Joshua Dube stands out as a star of this recording. He truly captures the spirit of both Jonah Sithole and Eprhaim Karimaura, who both buoyed the Blacks Unlimited over long periods of time. Dube's sparkling yet mellow tone and instinctive sense of the appropriate thing to play set him apart and elevate the music to its status as one in a long line of classic Mapfumo releases. The other amazing strength of Chimurenga Explosion is its strong vocal forces, demonstrated best on "Zvichapera," where the call and response could be taken from any of Mapfumo's many great recordings of the '70s and '80s.

Customer Reviews

Happiness guide to african music

While AMG's review is full of information it doesn't tell you this music sounds happy. It embodies other worldly happiness. Listen to track 2. Track 2, Chisi is so bouncy and ebuliant it makes you smile and tap your toe. Check out Nhamo Zvakare and Disaster which are also great songs which make you smile. This is a great recording with a great lineup of musicians (see AMG review). Worth every penny you pay.


Genre: World

Backed by his band, Blacks Unlimited, Thomas Mapfumo has been at the cutting edge of the political struggle in his native Zimbabwe for over 20 years, even as he's become a major figure on the world music scene. Born in 1945 in the small town of Marondera, in the country that was then the British colony of Rhodesia, Mapfumo attended a colonial school and heard Western pop on the radio. Particularly struck by Elvis, he performed Presley's "A Mess of Blues" in a talent show, backed, perhaps surprisingly,...
Full Bio
Chimurenga Explosion, Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited
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Customer Ratings