ALBUM REVIEW: NaMapfumo (2007) - Leonard Mapfumo
NaMapfumo is pretty much Leonard’s debut offering. Previously he contributed half the songs on the combo R & L album with Roki and has featured on both Chamhembe compilations. Leonard Mapfumo has come a long way since the days of Seiko which was a huge hit. Despite the song being his own he played second fiddle to Roki all the way and I can imagine how much of a bitter pill to swallow that was. It seems the same guys who have been on top in the past 4 or so years are the same guys still doing it (Roki, ExQue, Knox, MaFriq, etc). Same goes for Leo.
The album is titled ‘NaMapfumo’ loosely translated to mean ‘With Mapfumo’. It’s an album about the musical journey with Leonard and his friends where every song features at least one other artist. Most of the productions are by Russo who is competing for producer of the year with MacDee. Production-wise I have to say the album is hot, and will sit well with many Urban Grooves fans. Typically if you are into American Hip Hop and RnB then be prepared to enjoy this one to the fullest with Shona lyrics to give it a twist. I was largely impressed by the song Mvura featuring Lungisani Makhalima (Sanii). What a gem. Sanii is a guru when it comes to doing choruses with a sweet harmony and the song is already doing well on the airwaves. I have always enjoyed Leonard Mapfumo’s Shona rap far more than any other Urban Grooves artist.
So far, Hera is the song everyone has been talking about since it first came out. Beyond any doubt it is indeed a great song with an infectious house flavour to it that will pack dance floors. If you liked Destiny by Malaika this song might be one for you. Usazoputsa is blessed with some lovely vocals by Trevor and Shingie and the same goes for Sherrie featuring Cindy Raw. It was a good choice to also include Seiko on this album and it reminded me of the days when Urban Grooves had just started. The great thing about the song is that it was so well done it does not even sound misplaced. NaMapfumo is packed with heat from start to finish and so far is a contender for album of the year among the young guns. Get a copy if you haven’t done so!
Cover Art – 6/10 (ndizvowo, not bad at all)
Music – 7/10 (Urban Grooves fans will love this)
Mixing & Mastering – 6/10 (clarity varume clarity)
‘I Like Factor’ – 6/10