ALBUM REVIEW: Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman (2008)

I have been a fan of contemporary Zimbabwean music for a few years now and have grown to appreciate it as the years have passed by. Chiwoniso has been a household name for as long as i can remember with an outstanding career from the days as part of A Peace of Ebony together with Metaphysics and Tony Chihota. Rebel Woman is her third solo project after Ancient Voices (2001) & Timeless (2004) where Chiwoniso teams up with prominent producer Keith Farquhuarson yet again.

Chiwoniso comfortably switches between Shona and English throughout her inspiring album. The title track is an international success after helping Chiwoniso to claim second spot in the International Song Writing Competition (World Music Category) in 2006. Rebel Woman delves into the world of a woman and her strengths that help to overcome the obstacles of life. The rebel woman is a fighter and stands against all odds to overcome. It is one of the most well written songs by Chiwoniso and her singing enhances the beauty of it. Vanorapa defines the Chiwoniso sound many have grown to love. The song is about the ancestral powers that we might not know about but play a huge part in our well-being as the healers of society ills. It is a deep thought of how history defined the future to be part of it. Matsotsi touches on greed and cultural decay as money has taken over the necessities of life. It boarders between the differences of the sociatal hierarchy and the envy associated with financial acquisitions. Matsotsi is a Shona word meaning 'criminals'. As a Zimbabwean, this song made me ponder on the state of our nation and realise how affected the average man is on a day to day basis. This one explores the depths of Chiwoniso's passion as a musician singing about issues that affect so many people worldwide.

The album also offers uplifting songs like Wakashinga, the jazzy Listen To The Breeze, an emotional track about rising from a slump, and the vibrant Nguva Yekufara which is about having happiness in life. Chiwoniso sings about how the time for happiness is more vital and important to the soul than times of sadness as well as telling us how God facilitates our happiness in His being. This one is one of the best songs on the album. Kurima is the first track i heard off this album a couple of years back. I particularly enjoy the fusion of mbira and the piano, the song has me snapping my fingers more often than i realise! The emphasis of the track is on the ability we have to fend for ourselves through various means and encourages the people to work hard to see out each day successfully. 

The beauty of Chiwoniso's music is in being able to capture an audience stretching from young to old and even moreso going beyond cultural barriers. I believe she has what it takes to continue entertaining thousands for many more years to come. Rebel Woman is possibly Chiwoniso's best offering yet (without taking anything away from her previous albums which were very well done). For Chiwoniso fans, there is no disappointment here! This one is a must buy for anyone interested in mbira music and those who want something new. Impressive to say the least.

Get the album here: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7727674

Cover Art - 8/10
Music - 9/10
Technical Sound - 9/10
'I Like' Factor - 8/10