23 August 2007

Zimfest 101: Zim to the Future

For the last couple of days, we've hit traditional Zimbabwean music in the form of marimba and mbira. Today, a look at new directions these traditions are headed.

I mentioned a few forward-looking groups yesterday. Here are two more contemporary artists building on Shona tradition.

Pachi Pamwe is two Americans -- Eric Miller on mbira and Matt Gordon on guitar -- who add English lyrics to traditional melodies, and also compose original tunes in a similar style. I honestly don't know much more about them -- their home-burned CD arrived in my mailbox with a hand-written label and precious little info. They will be at Zimfest this weekend, so I'll try to catch up with them there. You can download some of their music on their myspace (check out "Gambia"), where you can also learn that their name is Shona for "together again."

[mp3] Pachi Pamwe: Tema Musasa

Our second tune today is decidedly more, um, hip. As in hip hop. Zimbabwe Legit was formed by brothers doomE Right and Akim. They've had their struggles with labels and getting their music to a broader audience, but as you can hear from this tune, they've got a fresh and engaging sound and a way of incorporating roots in with their rap. This fall they've got a new album coming called House of Stone. Their myspace has a free download of a new version of this song (it appears as "BrothersFromTheMoth...").

[mp3] Zimbabwe Legit: Rhymin' With the African Symphony
from the album Brothers from the Mother (Glow in the Dark, 2005)

[video] Zimbabwe Legit: "Doin' Damage in My Native Language"

Have your own favorite contemporary Zim sounds? Leave a comment...


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