Thomas Mapfumo, of Zimbabwe, is a revolutionary musician in every sense of the word. Musically, his band was one of the first to experiment with combining the mbira (thumb piano) and electric guitars and he was the first to put his own lyrics to traditional Shona melodies. Politically, these songs became the anthems of the freedom fighters during White minority rule.
When the revolution succeeded and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, he continued to be a gadfly. He questioned the integrity of Robert Mugabe and the current government. He now lives in exile and while immensely popular his music is banned in the country where he is most beloved.
A couple recordings I made with a mini-disc recorder in Independent Samoa in 2002 0r 2003. Every Samoan can sing, if you started to sing a song on a public bus everyone would join you. The houses have thatched roofs and walls of woven leaves that are folded up during the daytime so the breeze sweeps through. Here are some pics: the father and son are from the Falonga Bay village in Upolo, where I recorded the outstanding youth chours.
This special show features an Oud Virtuoso from Tehran, Negar Bouban, and an Oud Virtuoso based in New York, Brandon Terzic. They met and played together for the first time live on the air for this show. Brandon also brought his amazing band, Xalam Project. Xalam’s line-up that evening was Luke Notary and Matt Kilmer on Percussion, Matt Darriau on winds and sax, Ethan Mees on Bass and Brandon on the Oud.