OLIVER MTUKUDZI AND THE BLACK SPIRITS

OLIVER MTUKUDZI AND THE BLACK SPIRITS

BandWorldFolk

Zimbabwe’s pride, most successful artist and national treasure, Mtukudzi is gifted with talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and struggles of his people. ‘Tuku’ as he is known, is an African music legend. Please see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ2sPofyjXc

Biography

Master Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi sings the poetry of everyday life.

Please see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ2sPofyjXc

Mtukudzi, affectionately called “Tuku” by fans worldwide, has weathered political, social, economic and personal storms with his sharp observations and gracious emphasis on the basic human experiences that unite us all: childhood and aging, respect and hope, women’s rights and AIDS, community and connection.

“My music and art come from the everyday living I do,” Mtukudzi reflects. “I write what I see around me. When I see something, I have something real to talk about. If there is something to talk about, there’s something to sing about, and there’s always something new to talk about.”

With a career that spans the birth of his native Zimbabwe and the advent of both Afropop and global love affair with African roots music, Tuku’s quicksilver guitar work, keen ear for melody, and evocative voice has earned him an international following and intense adulation at home. Revered as both accomplished musician and public figure, Tuku has done everything during his long, successful career: launched a popular local arts center, mentored countless local musicians, produced musicals, recorded 59 albums, made films, and spoken out in a soft but persuasive way on key issues in Zimbabwean and African society.

Born into a family of modest means but great musical spirit, Tuku grew up singing with his parents and siblings in a rough-edged neighborhood in Harare, in what was still Rhodesia, a colony dominated by a ruling European minority. “I left school and for three years, I couldn’t find a job, yet I was one of the few guys among my peers with a fine secondary education,” Tuku recalls. “But I couldn’t get a job because I was black.”

Tuku found unique ways to address and combat oppression. As a young performer in his early twenties, he and his colleagues began confronting the regime through music. He cut his first successful single in 1975 and performed with another of Zimbabwe’s favorite musical sons, Thomas Mapfumo, as part of the legendary Wagon Wheels. Forerunners of the Afropop revolution, the band put an electric spin on long-standing traditions, in songs inspired, among other subjects, by their country’s recent war of liberation from colonial oppression.

“Before independence in 1980, it was the fight against the Rhodesian regime. My music then spoke against oppression and the repressive regime and how we were suffering at the hands of the regime,” Tuku remembers. “My music then helped people identify themselves…who we were and what we wanted to be.”

Though his early work fell squarely into the burgeoning rock- and funk-inspired Afropop of the era, Tuku always felt it as a continuation of older, deeper roots. “Even when I played with electric equipment, I always adapted older tunes,” explains Tuku. “I played guitar like I was playing a traditional instrument.”

After striking out on his own from the Wagon Wheels and recruiting his own band of stylish young performers, The Black Seeds, Tuku experienced the ups and downs that mark the careers of many seasoned musicians. He collaborated with dozens of Zimbabwean talents, worked with South African producers and musicians (including members of the Southern African super group Mahube he helped found), and organically blended musical directions from across Southern Africa.

Yet in one of his most significant creative moves, Tuku eventually turned back to his musical foundation, to traditional sounds, stunning the Zimbabwean scene by playing pop on traditional instruments like mbira (thumb piano) and marimba, alongside his trademark acoustic guitar. “People didn’t think you could have traditional instruments play like an organ or synth,” he notes. “But you can find that sound in a traditional instrument.”

Tuku went about reframing and refining these sounds to make a very clear and passionate point. He hoped to find a new place in the musical culture for these vital, older instruments. “I realized that our youngsters were thinking that these instruments were the worst and were looking down on them. But the pop songs everyone was listening to sounded just as good on traditional instruments,” recounts Tuku. “So I did three albums playing all songs that way, on traditional instruments, to prove the point that our instruments aren’t inferior and our young people shouldn’t feel inferior, either.”

Tuku’s message—from his first songs protesting colonial injustice to his latest compositions calling for respect and kindness—has always been woven from metaphor. Favoring imagery and small snapshots to sweeping political statements, Tuku sees his lyrics as springing from a deep well of vivid metaphor found in Shona, the majority vernacular language of Zimbabwe, just as his music finds its beginnings in traditional sounds. This more literary approach to expression not only had its aesthetic advantages, but embraces t

Discography

1978 Ndipeiwo Zano (re-released 2000)
1979 Chokwadi Chichabuda
1979 Muroi Ndiani?'
1980 Africa (re-released 2000)
1981 Shanje
1981 Pfambi
1982 Maungira
1982 Please Ndapota
1983 Nzara
1983 Oliver's Greatest Hits
1984 Hwema Handirase
1985 Mhaka
1986 Gona
1986 Zvauya Sei?
1987 Wawona
1988 Nyanga Yenzou
1988 Strange, Isn't It?
1988 Sugar Pie
1989 Grandpa Story
1990 Chikonzi
1990 Pss Pss Hallo!
1990 Shoko
1991 Mutorwa
1992 Rombe
1992 Rumbidzai Jehova
1992 Neria Soundtrack'
1993 Son of Africa
1994 Ziwere MuKobenhavn
1995 Was My Child
1996 Svovi yangu
1995 The Other Side: Live in Switzerland
1995 Ivai Navo
1997 Ndega Zvangu (re-released 2001)
1997 Chinhamwe
1998 Dzangu Dziye
1999 Tuku Music
2000 Paivepo
2001 Neria
2001 Bvuma (Tolerance)
2002 Shanda soundtrack
2002 Vhunze Moto
2003 Shanda (Alula Records)
2003 Tsivo (Revenge)
2004 Greatest Hits Tuku Years
2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1991-1997
2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1984-1991
2005 Nhava
2006 Wonai
2007 Tsimba Itsoka
2008 Dairai (Believe)
2010 Rudaviro
2010 Kutsi Kwemoyo (compilation)[4]
2011 Rudaviro
2011 "Abi'angu" (Duets of my time)
2012 "Sarawoga"