26 December 2014 – Â US BASED Chimurenga musicianÂ Thomas Mapfumo, will be releasing a new album Danger ZoneÂ on 31 January 2015, with his usual political commentary and a few English tracks – a collaboration with house DJ’s for a touch of calypso.
Popularly called by his fans as The Chimurenga Guruor The Lion of Zimbabwe, Mapfumo has been defining the issues of the day for his countrymen in transcendently original songs since 1974 making Danger Zone the latest chapter, his first set of new studio songs since the 2010 release of Exile.
Danger Zone, which is a Chimurenga Music Company release remains Mapfumo’s way of singing about the rights and concerns of ordinary people facing oppression and poverty.
The historical context may have changed, but Mapfumo’s loyalties and focus Â clearly have not.
Nhamo Urombo offers a poignant recapitulation of his central theme on Danger Zone.
Chikwereti broadens the scope with a pointed message to African nations who accept money from foreign countries notably China, whom he warns that its not just a gift but that :”One way or another, you will have to pay them back.
The title track on Danger Zone speaks of various hot spots around the world such as Syria, Iraq, Libya but from a philosophical perspective, asking how Â God’s children seem unable to live peacefully.
Elsewhere, Mapfumo sings Hatidi Politics , a firm declaration that Zimbabweans and people around the world just want a good life, schools, healthcare, security and not to be part of power games by politicians.
Mapfumo who because of his sometimes seemingly controversial lyrics,has often been misunderstood as apolitical singer and has indeed never shied from criticising politicians, says he has does not and has never supported any political party.
And in a poignant new lament, Zimbabwe pleads on his countrymen to leave politics alone and unite for a better future, basically re emerging with music and messages to suit a new circumstances.
Over the years the dreadlocked musician hasÂ has reinvented his band, the Blacks Unlimited, with the core set of musicians he brought from Zimbabwe and a growing circle of American collaborators he has trained in the art of Chimurenga music.
Since the beginning of his epic career, traditional African music remains central with his art remaining deeply ingrained in the original Blacks Unlimited sound, especially on two bonus tracks featuring mbira, VarimudandeÂ (People of Dande) and Pasi idandaro (We Are Just Passers-by).
At the same time, this album charts new ground for Mapfumo and his band.
The maestro features the lighter moreÂ celebratory side of his personality on twoÂ English songs, Celebrate and Are You Ready,a blend of Chimurenga and Calypso.
Extending that theme, Mapfumo collaborates with beat-maker and DJ Charlie B. Wilder to come up with two club-ready tracks, Music and a spare, punchy remake of his classic song Shebeen featuring guest vocalist Natalia Rollins.
Fans in SA and outside Zimbabwe can download Danger Zone for 99 cents at www.thomas-mapfumo.com or at Strawberry boutique in Harare, and selected stores in major cities tentatively from the 31 January 2015.
Meanwhile a bonus track for fans Hatidi Politics can be downloaded for free on the CMC website. – CMC Publicity