Oliver Mtukudzi: Wonai (Elite)

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Oliver Mtukudzi: Chara Chimwe
Oliver Mtukudzi: Wonai (Elite)

Known as "Tuku" after the style of music he created, singer-guitarist Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe battles the usual problem that musicians from Africa face: if Peter Gabriel isn't behind you or you don't have a Womad slot then basically nobody gives a shit.

Ah well, here he is for a discerning Elsewhere audience.

Mtukudzi has recorded about 50 albums (which places him in the Bob Dylan category) and his Putumayo compilation "The Tuku Years" got a very nice mention by me in the Herald about four years ago.

Some might remember him rocking the Auckland Town Hall at a Womad almost a decade ago.

Mtukudzi does try to woo an audience more used to Western pop and rock -- but those efforts (here on the over-produced and English-language schmaltzy The Third World Cries Every Day) are often numbingly ordinary and MOR.

He is at his best when he simply gets it on Tuku-style. Which -- that Third World track being the ignominous exception -- is what he does here.

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