Oliver Mtukudzi

Tsivo

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    8
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Think of it as Tuku (as Mtukudzi is known) unplugged. For Tsivo -- which translates as revenge -- he and his band have gone acoustic. But that doesn't mean a drop in the high quality of his right, or anyone's playing. However, the change does seem to have given very considered arrangements to the music, which comes across as more introspective, and less overtly bouncy, than some of Tuku's previous work. This time out the harmonies shine, as on "Dama Rinetapira." Acoustic it may be, but it's not a Zimbabwean roots album -- only "Pawatsiurwa" takes on that mantle, powered by percussion. Elsewhere, Mtukudzi has come up with another bunch of typically excellent songs, such as "Wagona Fani," which rates as highly as the best he's done in the past. Quite why he's decided to take an acoustic turn this time around is unknown, but the change has certainly helped refresh and focus both the music and the sound -- and certainly the luxury of recording in his home studio must have made things easier. The biggest name in Zimbabwean music has triumphed again.

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