Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman
For the first time in a decade, Zimbabwe's legendary chantuesse Chiwoniso delivers a record for international release. "Rebel Woman"'s political and personal lyrics, carried by a musical stew of Afican rhythms and Amerian soul and gospel, is a triumph of hope amid direct confrontation with the events and attitiudes that make hope a dicey prospect in hard times.
From the bouncy anthemic "Wakashinga" and "Kurima" to the gently rocking "Vanorapa," Chiwoniso's passionate delivery is matched throughout by a solid hot band. Many of the tracks feature the mbira, a wooden, stringed hand piano that gives off a multi-harmonic tone that is beautiful. It has been used forever in both secular and spiritual music in Zimbabwe.
That natural blend of the eternal with the local is the lifeblood of this release. The rebellion in "Rebel Woman" is one of resistance to deapair and injustice. Sounding at various times like a young Aretha or a wise Dylan backup singer, Chiwoniso is a revelation. This is a little obscure record, at least here in the West, that needs more press. Certainly this is a fearless record that believes music can save the world.
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