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« JOYCE, NANA VASCONCELOS & MAURICIO MAESTRO - Visions Of Dawn | Main | RICHARD SWIFT - The Atlantic Ocean »
Thursday
May072009

THOMAS MAPFUMO & THE ACID BAND - Hokoyo!

This debut album under Thomas Mapfumo's own name (after earlier efforts with the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band) was released in 1978, one year before The Clash's London Calling, and in a way Mapfumo, the "Lion Of Zimbabwe", can be seen as his country's Joe Strummer, deeply political and musically direct. Mapfumo's key innovation, dubbed chimurenga, was to translate traditional Shona mbira melodies onto the guitar, creating a simpler style played in a taut staccato in contrast to the more fluid and complex style of highlife and rhumba found elsewhere in Africa. The way his Acid Band played in 6/8 or 12/8 time de-emphasized syncopation, making it no less tricky to groove to, while keeping things melodically repetitious in order to drive his revolutionary rhetoric straight to the widening consciousness of his people. Hokoyo! was a massive commercial success, and played no small role in swaying the then-Rhodesian musical and political climate, much to the chagrin of the colonial rulers who were defeated with the establishment of Zimbabwe in 1980. Keep an eye out for his second solo disc (this time with The Blacks Unlimited), Gwindingwi Rine Shumba, also reissued on Water.

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