Although I like all kinds of music from Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean music that - to me - really reaches the parts other can't is mostly traditional. I have a soft spot for the mbira.
This soft spot has only increased in size since seeing Hakurotwe Mude and his Mhuri Yekwa Rwizi ensemble perform (in 1994). I had been a fan of his since I had heard him on Shona Mbira Music and The Soul of Mbira (this album, originally released in 1973, is a must for any serious music lover), but live he was even more impressive and profound. Unfortunately most of the later records don't succeed in conveying the essence of this spirit music. This is understandable. The ancestors are not likely to communicate in the profane surroundings of a studio.
That's why I was surprised when I heard this cassette entitled "Mbira Singles Collection". It is a very nice collection of 16 tracks by 7 (or 8*) younger mbira groups. Most only use traditional instruments (mbira and hosho), but one (Nyadzonya Mbira Sounds) allows itself the use of a drumkit. There are versions of traditionals like "Nyamaropa", "Pidigori" (made famous by Thomas Mapfumo), and of "Hwahwa" (called "Ngoto Yakaipa" on this collection).
Over the (ten) years that I've had this cassette favourites have varied. That's usually a sign of a very durable collection...
MJCHZ 827 or (MF) here
* track A8 appears to be by two groups.
Les Shleu-Shleu a New York Mini Records 1973
35 minutes ago