Thursday, March 28
World Music — from Zimbabwe
Purchase Tickets Online or by phone at 505-988-1234
The Lensic proudly presents an evening with Afropop legend Oliver Mtukudzi and his band, the Black Spirits, on Thursday, March 28. Underwriting for this performance is generously provided by Thornburg Investment Management.
One of Africa’s most acclaimed popular musicians, “Tuku,” as he is known, has a deep, gusty voice and a talent for writing songs that reflect the daily life and struggles of the African people. Now 60, he began performing in 1977 and has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. Mtukudzi released his 57th studio album, “Sarawoga,” in November 2012, and he has sold hundreds of thousands of records on the Putumayo, Heads Up/Telarc, and Sheer Sound labels. A member of Zimbabwe’s Kore Kore tribe, he sings in the nation’s dominant Shona language as well as Ndebele and English.
Mtukudzi’s work is heavily influenced by the sounds of traditional Zimbabwe chimurenga music—a modern genre based on traditional Shona mbira (thumb piano) music, with lyrics that address social and political injustice. His music also incorporates South Africa mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style jit, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan. One of Mtukudzi longtime fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called him “a treasure” and recorded a cover of his song “Hear Me Lord,” but also credits him as the inspiration for the song “One Belief Away” on her 1998 album Fundamental.
Through his music, Mtukudzi addresses some of Africa’s most pressing social issues, including children’s rights and welfare and HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. In June 2011, Mtukudzi was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, and as such he will continue speaking out to promote young people’s rights and HIV/AIDS awareness.
Mtukudzi is a guitarist, vocalist, performer, and composer. The Black Spirits includes members Never Mpofu on bass, Sam Mataure on drums, Charles Chipanga on marimba, Namatai Mudariki on hosho (a percussion instrument from Zimbabwe consisting of a pair of seed-filled gourds), and Vimbai Zimuto on mbira (an African instrument also known as a “thumb piano.”)