ALBUM REVIEW: Zimbabwe Today - Various Artists (2009)

It has been a while since i have come across a compilation of contemporary artists from Zimbabwe. The recently released Zimbabwe Today compilation includes 11 great artists from Zimbabwe, singing within different genres and languages. 

This sizzling album opens up with a song by Hope Masike entitled The Land. The mbira leads this composition with some well controlled vocals sung in the Shona language. She delves into the origins of 'Africa' asking what it means and where it came from. It is a very mellow song which boasts of having a highly ethnic sound, a true gem. The popular Shaina by Alexio Kawara is a fitting inclusion with its positive message which should definitely inspire many generations to come. Andy Brown plays the guitar with a passion that connects through the song. Of all the Alexio songs released to date, this one is definitely his stand out track. 

Prior to this release i had never heard of Mathius Julius before and i was at a loss. His song struck a chord with me. On a reggae vibe with a delivery i have not quite heard in ages. Coming from a Zimbabwean artist the song Der Pon raised the bar to a standard which many artists will find hard to reach. I marvelled at the backing vocals. Mathius relates to the bonds of slavery which led to forced migration of Africans to far away lands. He asks God to guide him in his walk of life. Selmor Mtukudzi has an undeniable Oliver Mtukudzi influence in her music characterised by the afro-jazz cum pop sound in her songs. Her mature approach holds much weight for her social commentary. The legendary Victor Kunonga graces this album with Mamurega. He maintains his formula of music that is easy on the ears which sounds like a mixture of 'chimurenga' music and jazz. Zimbabwe reggae's finest, Transit Crew also make an appearance with Lord If I Cry. 

This album is easily the best compilation i have heard in the last few years. The level of quality, maturity and depth is a rare find on the Zimbabwean and even international scene. Other tracks on the album that tickled my fancy were Handishore by guitar legend Clive 'Mono' Mukundu, Arumwa by Willis Wataffi and Mubvunzo by Sebede. To top it all off it is all for a good cause with a portion of proceeds going to Tariro - Hope & Health for Zimbabwe's Orphans. It is a non-profit organisation located in Glen Norah, Zimbabwe, working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating young women. Grab a copy, high recommendation here!

Get the album here:
http://www.wideworldartists.com/ZimbabweToday.html

Visit Tariro - Hope & Health for Zimbabwe's Orphans website:
http://tariro.org/

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 9/10
Technical Sound - 9/10
'I Like' Factor - 8/10