Hukwe Zawose


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AllMusic Review by Bret Love

Hukwe Zawose is considered both a national treasure and a magical character of near-mythical proportions in his native Tanzania. He taught himself to play and sing as a child, walking from village to village and enchanting those around him with his powerful voice, to which local folklore began to ascribe magical powers. On his Western debut, Zawose's powers are in full effect, singing in his native tongue and playing traditional instruments that range from flutes and violins to thumb pianos and various percussion to create a rich sound that rings with an infectious vibrancy. Songs like "Sisitizo la Amani Duniani" and "Ibarikiwe Mungo Yupo Duniani" use the buzzing, earthy resonance of the thumb piano to great effect, over which Zawose's piercing voice radiates like the sun shining through the clouded heavens. Imagine the talents of Youssou N'Dour and Baaba Maal put together, and you'll be close -- add what sounds a little like Tuvan throat singing, and the results are positively captivating.

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