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Ari Nave

Thomas Mapfumo created Chimurenga Music, a new style that drew on Shona traditions of music as a form of resistance to confront colonial oppression in Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), then under white-minority rule. Raised in the rural household of his grandparents, themselves traditional musicians, Mapfumo learned traditional Shona music from an early age. The young Mapfumo played the mbira (thumb piano) and drums during his grandmother’s performances at beer parties.

To obtain a better education, Mapfumo moved to Salisbury (present-day Harare). His musical repertoire expanded as he discovered other African, European, and American musical styles—including the music of Nat “King” Cole, Otis Redding, and Elvis Presley. In Salisbury, he sang in a number of local bands, covering popular tunes by Sam Cooke and the Beatles, whose lyrics he sang in Shona. In 1973 Mapfumo formed the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band most of the band members worked in ...

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Jeremy Rich

musician, was born in Marondera, Zimbabwe, on 2 July 1945 to a family belonging to the Shona ethnic community. His hometown was located close to Harare (then Salisbury), the capital of the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Mapfumo lived a fairly traditional rural lifestyle as a child. His grandparents raised him for his first ten years. As a young child on a rural farm, he watched over his family’s cattle herds and became familiar with older Shona musical styles. He became interested in songs particularly accompanied by ngoma drums and the mbira thumb-piano, which became his signature instrument later in his career.

When he was ten his father brought him to live at the family home in the Mbare township in Harare to attend school In the early 1960s the adolescent Mapfumo was exposed to the growing political crises over Southern Rhodesia s future While African political groups wanted the ...