Wednesday, April 23, at the Grand Emporium.

Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited 

Wednesday, April 23, at the Grand Emporium.

Thomas Mapfumo, the "Lion of Zimbabwe," was born in 1945 as part of the Shona culture in what was then white Rhodesia. From that country, torn by oppression since his birth, Mapfumo has been spreading his sometimes eerily still, sometimes pounding chimurenga (the Shona word for struggle) music around the world. Mapfumo's songs build on his gently gruff voice, chiming guitar lines, lush backing choruses and amazingly complex rhythms. His socially conscious lyrics have gotten him arrested in his native country and his music banned in Zimbabwe by the nation's current government. He has taken refuge in the states, introducing American audiences to a fresh form of danceable rebellion.

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