|Thomas with Guitar|
from gallery at thomas-mapfumo.com
He invented and popularized Chimurenga music - literally "struggle" in Shona - which was often overtly political. In addition to his modern incarnation of traditional music, his lyrics were sung in Shona. In the late 1970s singing in Shona instead of English was a political statement in and of itself. In Mapfumo's case, it was specifically critical of the white ruling class of Rhodesia. The government, underestimating his popularity, eventually banned his records and imprisoned Mapfumo without charges in 1979. After a series of large protests demanding his release, he was set free three months later.
Though he initially celebrated the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, he became increasingly disillusioned with the regime of Robert Mugabe. This was, again, reflected in the music he produced throughout the 1980s; mostly as Thomas Mapfumo And The Blacks Unlimited. His lyrics often addressed issues of poverty and social development. After a campaign of government-sponsored harassment, he emigrated to the United States, where he continues to live. In 2018.April he returned for the first time since 2005 to Zimbabwe to perform a concert.
Wanna know more? Read at thomas-mapfumo, realworldrecords and wiki
Listen to Chiruzevha Chapera of the 2002 Kershaw Session:
1998.Jul.07 - Radio 1 Peel Session - bc.1998.Aug.11
tracklist: 1.Dai Pasina Satani / 2.Chickende* / 3.Mukadzi Wemukoma* / 4.Usatambe Nenyoka
*two tracks only from rpt.2017.Dec.04, BBC 6music Gideon Coe; tracks 1 and 4 missing
bonus: Buko Tiende* (from Hondo, 1991) played by Peel in his 1993.Dec.10 show at BFBS, incl.talk about Mapfumo concert in Zimbabwe
2002.Dec.13 - BBC Radio3 Andy Kershaw - Thomas Mapfumo in session
note: date is of broadcast, recording date unknown
tracklist: intro* / 1.Mukadzi Wamukoma* / interview* / 2.Pfumvu Pa Ruzeva* / band members* // intro* / 3.Chiruzevha Chapera* / outro*
Other known sessions for BBC Radio:
-bc.1990.Aug.12, BBC Radio 1 - Andy Kershaw with Thomas Mapfumo (no audio, nor tracklist, yet)
More music by Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited:
- live, singles and video at worldservice blog
- several vinyl albums at globalgroovers (incl.more Chimurenga musicians!)
- 1985.April: Thomas Mapfumo - Lion of Zimbabwe - interview in The (Reggae & African) Beat magazine
- 2015.Mar.15: Thomas Mapfumo interview BBC Africa soundclound
Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo speaks to Fred Dove about his unique approach to tackling music piracy.
- 2015.Sep.11: The life and music of Thomas Mapfumo - Radio WBEZ Worldview
- 2015.May.02: Letter from Africa - Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe's lion, roars for his fans - BBC News article
In the series of letters from Africa, journalist-turned-barrister Brian Hungwe reflects on the return from exile of Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo four months after Robert Mugabe's resignation as president.
- 2018.Aug.26: The Art of Now - True Jit - BBC Radio 4
Tayo Popoola looks at the changing face of the Zimbabwean music scene since the fall of Robert Mugabe, incl.interview with Thomas Mapfumo.