Entries tagged with: Oliver Mtukudzi

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photos by Robert Altman

Oliver Mtukudzi / Fatoumata Diawara
Oliver Mtukudzi & the Black Spirits
Fatoumata Diawara

Over the last decade Globalfest has presented 21st-century world music as an accelerating fusion, a recombinant free-for-all of local traditions meeting ideas and technologies from afar. It's a realistic view of how musicians work; very few are purists. And some hybrids have grown durable enough to feel like traditions of their own.

That's how it was with this year's superb African contingent at Globalfest: Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, who has been making albums since the 1970s, and Fatoumata Diawara, born in Ivory Coast to Malian parents and now living in France.

Mr. Mtukuzdi and his band, the Black Spirits, have perfected a family of light-fingered grooves. They translate traditional thumb-piano patterns into guitar picking that becomes the mainspring of three-chord rock songs, with Mr. Mtukudzi's hearty voice singing benign messages and prayers for better times. Ms. Diawara, who is both a singer and dancer, draws on her parents' regional heritage -- Wassoulou music -- for tightly wound, triple-time modal grooves that she pushes toward funk and rock. Songs like "Kele" ("War") took on a special urgency from the current civil war in Mali. [NY Times]

globalFEST 2013 went down at all three stages of Webster Hall on Sunday (1/13). We checked out the main stage portion and caught sets by Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits, Fatoumata Diawara, Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan, The Stooges Brass Band, and Mucca Pazza. More pictures of those artists and some videos from the fest are below.

Continue reading "globalFEST 2013 in pics & videos (Oliver Mtukudzi, Fatoumata Diawara, Mucca Pazza, Kayhan Kalhor & more)"

Oliver Mtukudzi
Oliver Mtukudzi

Annual NYC world music festival globalFEST, whose name was recently borrowed for a much bigger one-off event in Central Park, have announced the lineup for their 2013 festival which will go down on all three stages at Webster Hall on January 13. The lineup, now complete, includes A Tribe Called Red (Canada), Christine Salem (Reunion), Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan (Iran/Turkey), La Santa Cecilia (Los Angeles, US), La Shica (Spain), Lo'Jo (France), Martha Redbone Roots Project (USA), Mucca Pazza (Chicago, US), Parno Graszt (Hungary), Stephane Wrembel and his Band (New York, US).. Tickets for the festival are on sale now.

NY Times reports that the organizers have also added Oliver Mtukudzi, "one of Zimbabwe's leading songwriters who created a signature sound out of several African styles," as a headliner for the event. The Times writes:

A veteran singer who began his career in 1977 in the band Wagon Wheels, Mr. Mtukudzi, 60, blends styles from across southern Africa and beyond without loosing the modal threads of Zimbabwean roots music. He possesses a deep, gutsy voice and writes about the daily struggles of people in his homeland, accompanying himself with hypnotic guitar lines.

Unlike his old Wagon Wheels bandmate Thomas Mapfumo, Mr. Mtukudzi tends to shy away from direct political commentary about the Mugabe regime. Still, some of his songs have been interpreted as allegorical protests. In "Ndakuvara," some saw the story about an ox hurting a farmer as a condemnation of political violence. And his single "Wasakara,' which means "You're Getting Old," has been seen by many in Zimbabwe as a plea for Robert Mugabe to retire. Bonnie Raitt, who has recorded his songs, has likened his "raw, imploring vocals" to Otis Redding and Toots Hibbert.

You can check out an Oliver Mtukudzi video below.

Continue reading "globalFEST 2013 announces full lineup w/ Oliver Mtukudzi"