I had to hunt for Thomas Mapfumo

Way back when I was first starting to teach and make music mixes -and mind you this was so long ago we built these on cassette tape from cassette tapes recordings- I was somewhere when I fleetingly heard a voice and a song I couldn’t get out of my head. It wasn’t so easy to find music then, especially from the continent of Africa’s artists who hadn’t yet crossed over to western ears and wide exposure. My main sources to learn about and find music to dance to was through three things. Listening devotedely every Monday night to KCMU’s show called BEST AMBIANCE. First with John Kirtser and then with Won Ldy Paye.
Second was when Afropop Worldwide started being a weekly broadcast on NPR. I don’t listen that way anymore but I am a very loyal supporter of this multi-platform organziation and all they do to preserve and share the vastness of music of the African diapsora.
The third way I discovered African music back then was by walking three blocks to Tower Records which later was the Queen Anne location of Silver Platters.  I’d comb through their African and Brazilian sections and take chances on what looked intetesting or, and this is for real, tingled in my hand. I also got to be friends with the guys that curated those. Many an educational happy time and lots of dollars spent on that block.
It took some time and hunting to find the artist whose voice was haunting me so. I wish I remember how I found him. But I did.

Thomas Mapfumo. The lion of Zimbabwe and still prolific voice of Chimurenga music with his band Blacks Unlimited on their 1991 album “Chamunorwa” and the song “Nyama Yekugocha”.


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