The article prompted me to buy Mukanya’s latest offering. After listening to just one track that has been given some air-play I found that the album is truly a gem.
I was shocked to discover that The Lion of Zimbabwe has not in any way changed. In spite of the Gung-ho studio American involvement, his music remains undiluted, pure unadulterated Chimurenga music synonymous with him. The only difference is that he has toned down on his lyrics which had of late tended to be direct attacks on the ruling elite with the exception of Ndambakuudzwa and Musatambe ne Nyika.
The album is very relevant to the situation in the country; Ndangariro has been played a number of times and appeals to those in the Diaspora. The track expresses a nostalgic yearning of home and has a message of an impending homecoming to his starved Chimurenga music fans. For the diehard mbira enthusiasts there are two tracks; Karigamombe and Buka Tiende which will leave you in a trance. This is pure magic in spite of having one mbira player.
Tafirenyika remains true to his word that he sings for the downtrodden which is the message in the tracks Vagere Kunaka which takes a swipe at the “haves” who forget the “have nots” once they are in comfortable positions.
Another song for the poor is Mwana Wemurombo which is reminiscent of Varombo Kuvarombo. Poverty is a vicious cycle and the poor continue to scrounge for a living while the rich continue to exploit the poor leaving them poorer.
The Chimurenga guru has not in any way lost his touch with the people and the situation at home in spite of his long absence from the country. Neither has he lost the rhythm that has endeared him to his legion of followers.
The spirit of Chimurenga lives on. Gandanga ndizvo.
Conrad Chisaka, Harare.