Nhava: Oliver Mtukudzi
This is a joyous CD, a celebration of life and an affirmation of the spirit. It doesn't matter that these songs are sung in Zimbabwean, the feelings envelop you like an airport embrace. It is hypnotic in a very passionate way-songs of release and humility. "Tuku," as Oliver Mtukudzi is called, is like a torchbearer of wisdom. One can imagine him travelling from village to village and then going continent to continent. It is not a crusade, the music is leading him. It is not political. The songs are simplistic anthems of the human condition and oh, I love the guitar work-gorgeous rhythms within rhythms and solos from the heart. I wouldn't be surprised if there were only one or two takes in the studio. It all flows beyond perfection. Tuku is given excellent support by the "Black Spirits," a nine-member group consisting of vocalists, a keyboardist, percussionists and guitarists. Nhava, the title of the CD, is the Zimbabwean word for "carrying bag," from which Tuku pulls out his gems of guidance for all travellers of life. There are many great CDs to be had from the African nations. This is one of them.
Oilver Mtukudzi plays at the Hop Porter Park in Hailey on June 24.