African Music Night - Thomas Mapfumo in Concert
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The last date listed for African Music Night! Thomas Mapfumo was Saturday August 6, 2011 / 7:00pm.
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Everyone knows that the East Bay overflows with soul. Celebrate that musical heritage during the… More
Thomas Mapfumo has been a witness to and participant in history in his native Zimbabwe. From the bloody years of the country’s liberation war in the ’70s, right through the present economic and political crises, Mapfumo has used his revolutionary, spiritually charged music to decry injustice and highlight the historical and cultural issues that underlie the news headlines. Mapfumo is a musical visionary and a fearless social critic and certainly one of the greatest African bandleaders of the past century.
By the summer of 2000, conditions in Zimbabwe had deteriorated badly, in part as a result of President Mugabe’s aggressive and violent program of seizing white-owned farms. Mapfumo songs perceived as critical of the government were unofficially banned from state controlled airwaves, effectively, all airwaves. Feeling pressure on many sides, Mapfumo moved his family to the United States that year, and since then, he and the band have been spending much of the year based in Eugene, Oregon. As the situation in Zimbabwe has declined steadily, virtually all Mapfumo’s recent music has now been banned, and government-controlled press outlets have for the first time begun to write negatively about him. Despite growing risks, Mapfumo continued to return to Zimbabwe with the band to play traditional year-end concerts for as long as he felt safe doing so. However, he has not returned to Zimbabwe since 2004.
In 2007 Thomas’s music was banned in Zimbabwe by the government he helped bring to power. He lives in political exile with his family and band in the US. Still, his 2001 release in Zimbabwe “Chimurenga Rebel” sold its entire 35, 000 copies in a few days, and Thomas continues to release music every year against this tide of political oppression and intrigue.