He's calm and reflective, and the signature sound is now smoother, with less of a...
Martin Longley 2006
In the last few years, the Zimbabwean singer Thomas Mapfumo has been forced to leave his homeland, now living and recording in Eugene, Oregon. The rebellious voice is outlawed once again, as it was in the late 1970s. Now, Robert Mugabe has replaced Ian Smith as the object of Mapfumo's scorn.
In its opening tracks, this album is very much influenced by Mapfumo's US encampment. He's calm and reflective, enjoying a spacious, opened-out production style. The signature sound is now smoother, with less of a weathered grain. The keyboards are up in the mix, and the guitar latticework less prominent than usual.
The second half sees a marked improvement, as if the Americanised songs are deliberately placed near the beginning, to ensnare any passing mainstream listeners. Mapfumo is lyrically downbeat, bleak and resigned, a dark vein of defiant melancholy running through these later pieces, as he ponders disease, ageing and death.