Oliver Mtukudzi, pride of Zimbabwe
September 16, 2007 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Let's pay a visit to Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, or Tuku, as he's affectionately known to his fans. His voice has a touch of that sweet soul gravel reminiscent of Georgia's Otis Redding, or Jamaica's Toots Hibberts, but his mellow fingerpicking guitar style and relaxed, loping grooves are African all the way. His earlier stuff is certainly worth going back to as well! And, hey, it's unlikely you'll hear too many other pop stars who sing lines like "Call the mother of my childfren. I am hurt. I was injured while training the ox."

Though it's a bit out of sync, and the sound isn't the greatest, here's a YouTube clip by an audience member at a live show in Washington DC, and another, similar, from a live show in Virginia.

London MeFiers take note: he'll be in your town soon, providing those visas get sorted...

Those interested in checking out some of the younger artists coming out of Zimbabwe can get some info here at Zimvibes.com
posted by flapjax at midnite (11 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry about the typo (childfren). I hate typos in FPPs!

Mods, any chance of fixin' that one for me?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:44 AM on September 16, 2007

i love your music posts, flapjax. thanks. (:
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:27 AM on September 16, 2007

Nicer than mad Thomas Mapfumo and more popular than Simon Chimbetu, who has a similar style.

They are all worth checking out, though.

Stella Chiwese is another good Zimbabwean artist, she plays the mbira.
posted by asok at 1:45 AM on September 16, 2007

Great post.

More african music here.
posted by the cuban at 4:28 AM on September 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Now I know who Paul Simon listened to before recording Graceland.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:13 AM on September 16, 2007

Sublime! ah, Just my kind of music. And charming videos too. Am going to get an Oliver Mtukudzi CD.

About Oliver Mtukudzi on Wikipedia. Zimbabwe is in Southern Central Africa. Very excited to hear African artists I hadn't heard before. Thanks flapjax!

For 15 years I sold West African art here in NYC and my suppliers turned me on to some great music from their neck of the woods, often creating wonderful cassette mixes for me. I really love contemporary and traditional African music, although my interest stops when it mixes with rap, which I've never been able to get into at all.

Sharing some of my old fashioned African music faves: Mbilia Bel & Tabu Ley. Tabu Ley Rochereau and Mbilia Bel are from the Congo, Central Africa.

The Merdoum Kings Play Songs Of Love by Abdel Gadir Salim All-Stars. Abdel Salim Gadir's music is from North Eastern Africa, Sudan.
posted by nickyskye at 8:08 AM on September 16, 2007

Bob Dylan did an entire album of songs about ox gorings called Pinned in the Horns of the Ragged Beast. He released it between John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. It peaked at #12 on the American charts, but actually made it to #3 in England. A partial track list:

"Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Be Gored"
"You Are a Big Ox Now"
"Don't Think Twince, It's a Goring"
"Everybody Must Get Gored"
"Lay Cowboy Lay"
"Sad Eyed Ox of the Lowlands"
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:09 AM on September 16, 2007

I woke up one morning in a hostel on the Isle of Skye realizing that an old Thomas Mapfumo song I used to play on my radio show years previously had been running though my head for hours while I slept, though I'd long thought I'd forgotten his name and sound. This led me to a belief about memory and experience I continue to find heartwarming and inspiring - like unto his music.
posted by freebird at 10:27 AM on September 16, 2007

Isn't that interesting freebird, when a piece of music is haunting. A link you might like about memory.

Thomas Mapfumo II video. Nicely memorable. His website. Wish I'd seen him this last April, when he was playing at Sounds Of Brazil, SOB's, downtown.

SOB's is such a nice venue, affordable and fun for dancing too with an excellent variety of music, including African, Brazilian, Haitian/French Caribbean, Latin Alternativ and Urban.

204 Varick Street at West Houston
Phone: 212.243.4940

It has some great upcoming shows for any interested New Yorkers.
posted by nickyskye at 11:00 AM on September 16, 2007

I have to figure out how that african two fingers finger picking work. What a groove. Thanks flapjax.
posted by nicolin at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2007

Franco (R.I.P.) is another great musician from the Congo. I really love West African music, especially from Senegal. A few of my favorites: Baaba Maal, Youssou N'dour, Thione Seck, and Orchestre Baobab.

Ashley Maher is Canadian, but she uses Senegalese rhythms in her music.
posted by mike3k at 7:09 PM on September 16, 2007

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