Biggie Tembo

Out of Africa

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The late Biggie Tembo's last release managed to break out of the doldrums that his former group, the Bhundu Boys, had fallen into. In the manner of the best "progressive" African pop, Out of Africa never sits still long enough to exhaust any of its marvellous grooves. Each piece has more frequent changes than a well-fed baby. Tembo's jit, an energetic pop music based on Southern African tradition styles, gets great momentum from complex and driving guitar lines, bass, and percussion. But clearly this release is the property of the vocalists, and Tembo leads the singing with gusto, cleverness, and, ultimately, poignancy, since the downer of a title cut seems to hint at the depression that led to his tragic suicide. (Note: this is the American release of a CD originally issued in England in 1992.)

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