Putumayo 199

Putumayo 199

Since his days with Thomas Mapfumo in the seminal band Wagon Wheels, Mtukudzi has developed into one of the most important musicians in southern Africa. A native of Zimbabwe, Tuku (as his fans know him) has consistently written songs that evince a sincere social conscience and an abiding concern for the welfare of his countrymen and women. Vhunze Moto is wholly conceived in this manner. Tuku's infectious sound—an amalgam of rock and such distinctive South African styles as mbaqanga, mbira, and jit—conveys lyrical concerns that range from sexual responsibility in the face of AIDS to self-respect and the artist's recurring call for social justice and equanimity. But there's nothing didactic about this music. Rather, Tuku gives his listeners enticing grooves and something to think about.—PVV