Afropop Classic April 18, 2024
Thomas Mapfumo Live in NYC at SOB's

In 1991, Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited made their second tour of the United States. It was a fascinating transitional moment in the band’s history. Mapfumo had recently added two musicians playing the metal-pronged, Shona mbira, enriching the band’s lineup of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, brass and percussion. The band had now evolved into a kind of folk orchestra in which everyone sang, allowing for beautifully layered vocal arrangements. This recording, made by Afropop Worldwide at S.O.B.'s in New York City during that historic tour, is a true gem in the Afropop archive. It captures one of Africa’s most innovative and unusual artists and bandleaders at the height of his powers. One listen to this sublime recording and you will understand why producer Banning Eyre devoted some 15 years to writing the book Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe.

Related Audio Programs

Thomas Mapfumo 2: The Mugabe Years
Hip Deep December 14, 2017
Thomas Mapfumo 2: The Mugabe Years
In recognition of the end of Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule in Zimbabwe, we are rebroadcasting our program on the career of Thomas Mapfumo during the Mugabe years.
Thomas Mapfumo: The War Years
Hip Deep April 11, 2024
Thomas Mapfumo: The War Years
Part 1 of Afropop Worldwide's HIp Deep audio biography of Thomas Mapfumo focuses on his upbringing, musical education and the bands that lead up to the Blacks Unlimited. These are the war years, when Zimbabwe was fighting to throw off the burden of the racist Southern Rhodesian regime. This episode documents the birth of "chimurenga" music in the voices of those who made that history, many of whom have now joined the ancestors. Produced by Banning Eyre.

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