THE long awaited new project ‘Danger Zone: New Songs of The Struggle’ from the undisputed Chimurenga guru and lion of Zimbabwe Thomas Mapfumo is going to be released next month, his publicist has announced.
In an interview in Harare Blessing Vava Mapfumo’s publicist said in the new project from the US-exiled veteran musician brings in a wide ranging set of new songs, and messages that suit the prevailing environment and circumstances.
The project was supposed to be released mid this year but was delayed by logistical challenges which Vava said had been since addressed.
“We are happy to announce that the long awaited new album Danger Zone will finally be released the 31st of January 2015, Danger Zone,” said Vava.
Known to his fans as The Chimurenga Guru and The Lion of Zimbabwe, Mapfumo has been defining and unpacking the issues of the day for his countrymen in transcendently original songs since 1974.
Since the beginning of his epic career, Mapfumo has stood for the rights and concerns of ordinary people facing oppression and poverty.
The historical context has however changed, but Mapfumo’s loyalties and focus have not.
The title track on Danger Zone is a survey of the world’s hot spots – Syria, Iraq, Libya. But it comes from a philosophical perspective, asking how it is that God’s children seem incapable of living in peace.
Elsewhere, Mapfumo sings “Hatidi Politics” (We Don’t Want Politics), a firm declaration that people in Zimbabwe and around the world want a good life – schools, healthcare and security – not to participate in the power games of politicians.
The track “Nhamo Urombo” (Problems of the Poor) offers a poignant recapitulation of his central theme on Danger Zone.
Another master piece “Chikwereti” (Credit) broadens the scope with a pointed message to African nations which accept financial help from foreign countries,notably China. In the song Mapfumo says “It’s not a gift meaning to say one way or another, you will have to pay them back”.
Mapfumo has often been misunderstood as a “political” singer. However, while he has never shied from criticizing politicians, he has never backed a political party.
The Chimurenga veteran has over the years reinvented his band, the Blacks Unlimited, combining 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.”
The traditional African music that has always played a central role in Mapfumo’s art remains deeply ingrained in the current Blacks Unlimited sound, especially on two bonus tracks featuring mbira, “Varimudande” (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 more celebratory side of his nature on two English language songs, “Celebrate” and “Are You Ready,” a celebration of deejays and dance floors.
Extending that theme, Mapfumo collaborates with beat-maker and deejay Charlie B. Wilder to create two club-ready tracks, “Music” and a spare, punchy remake of his classic song “Shabeen” featuring guest vocals by Natalia Rollins.
Danger Zone will be available at www.thomas-mapfumo.com . In Zimbabwe it will be available at Strawberry boutique Harare, and selected stores in major cities tentatively from the 31st of January 2015. – newzim