The songs on Tuku Music are both exotic and simple ("Tuku" is Mtukudzi's nickname). There's nothing especially unusual about Mtukudzi's instrumentation. For those familiar with Zimbabwean mbira music (mbira is the Shona thumb piano), Tuku's sound shows the influence of this bright, mesmerizing music, particularly in the guitar lines, but this is hardly the only inspiration at work in his music. "Katekwe," the traditional drumming patterns of Tuku's clan, the korekore, can often be heard at the bottom of his music, calling forth the traditional rhythmic soul of Shona music. The south African styles of jit and mbaqaqa have also exerted an influence which is evident in a few songs, but not especially evident in others. Tuku music is really a unique vibe, keyed by the robust yet remarkably gentle vocals of Tuku and the dazzling voices of Mwendi Chibindi and Mary Bell. Mtukudzi's most distinctive American release to date. "Tod!!" and "Mabasa," the songs addressing the AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe, are especially moving and melodically powerful. The liner notes are well done, providing brief comments on the lyrical content of each song.
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AllMusic Review by Philip Van Vleck