Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe (Hardback)
  • Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe (Hardback)
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Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe (Hardback)

(author)
£36.00
Hardback 416 Pages / Published: 22/05/2015
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Like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, singer, composer, and bandleader Thomas Mapfumo and his music came to represent his native country's anticolonial struggle and cultural identity. Mapfumo was born in 1945 in what was then the British colony of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The trajectory of his career-from early performances of rock 'n' roll tunes to later creating a new genre based on traditional Zimbabwean music, including the sacred mbira, and African and Western pop-is a metaphor for Zimbabwe's evolution from colony to independent nation. Lion Songs is an authoritative biography of Mapfumo that narrates the life and career of this creative, complex, and iconic figure. Banning Eyre ties the arc of Mapfumo's career to the history of Zimbabwe. The genre Mapfumo created in the 1970s called chimurenga, or "struggle" music, challenged the Rhodesian government-which banned his music and jailed him-and became important to Zimbabwe achieving independence in 1980. In the 1980s and 1990s Mapfumo's international profile grew along with his opposition to Robert Mugabe's dictatorship. Mugabe had been a hero of the revolution, but Mapfumo's criticism of his regime led authorities and loyalists to turn on the singer with threats and intimidation. Beginning in 2000, Mapfumo and key band and family members left Zimbabwe. Many of them, including Mapfumo, now reside in Eugene, Oregon. A labor of love, Lion Songs is the product of a twenty-five-year friendship and professional relationship between Eyre and Mapfumo that demonstrates Mapfumo's musical and political importance to his nation, its freedom struggle, and its culture.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822359081
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"A deep, detailed biography of a complex African musician and the homeland that has shaped his artistry. . . . An essential book for those who love the artist's music and want to know more. . . ." * Kirkus Reviews *
"What emerges from Eyre's account is a multi-faceted look at one musician's life, and the effects that it had on both the people around him and the society of which he was a part. . . . There's an evenness of tone here, and it helps bring together the many aspects of Mapfumo's life into one cohesive narrative. And, as an added bonus, it may well introduce readers to music that remains vital decades after it was first recorded." -- Tobias Carroll * Biographile *
"[Eyre] has meticulously researched Mapfumo's story and the musicians who have played with him in Blacks Unlimited, and he tells their tale with impressive attention to detail. ... All this makes Lion Songs an essential resource for anyone interested in Mapfumo and Zimbabwean music." -- Nigel Williamson * Songlines *
"[A] a singularly insightful biography. . . ." -- Andrew Gilbert * Berkeleyside *
"For fans of African music, the album is a must-have. For those interested in the role of art in self-determination and the intricate and convoluted history of oppression and colonialism and the fraught aftermath of self-rule, the book is a must-read." -- Jay Mazza * The Vinyl District *
"The novelistic text has an appropriately hefty level of historical context, and the attention to detail means that Eyre never gives the tale less than it deserves, ultimately enlightening the reader about the evolution of an entire nation, as well as its most famous musical son. The gripping read is thus highly recommended." -- David Katz * Mojo *
"An essential book for those who love the artiste's music and want to know more. . . ." -- Fred Zindi * The Herald (Zimbabwe) *
"[B]ecause Thomas Mapfumo is such an important subject, and because Eyre has spent decades around him, the legacy outweighs the failures. Mapfumo has created a huge body of meaningful work and Eyre has stuck it out-an independent scholar on a university press non-advance-to get his story. Graceful sentences, acute observation, heroic amounts of research, self-consciousness about subject position and other contextual issues, a working musician's aesthetic appreciation-it's all here, and nobody else could have done it." -- Eric Weisbard * Journal of Popular Music Studies *
"Eyre affirms Mapfumo's enduring stature in the canon of Zimbabwean music. Lion Songs is a fascinating biography not just for its close up portrayal of Mapfumo, but also its masterly commentary on Zimbabwe's underrated music industry." -- Stanley Mushava * The Herald (Zimbabwe) *
"[A]n intensely detailed and lucid work. ...Eyre is a musicologist, so when he explains the musical alchemy that went into creating Mapfumo's mbira-inspired chimurenga (revolutionary struggle) music, his descriptions are illuminating and technical. ... He also understands that the significance of his subject - a fixture in Zimbabwe's music and sociopolitical fabric for at least five decades - transcends the music he made." -- Kwanele Sosibo * Namibian *
"Lion Songs is a richly evocative story of a life impassioned wherein author Banning Eyre ties the arc of Mapfumo's career to Zimbabwe's contemporary history. . . . A great fly-on-the-wall account of a life political, a life musical, and a life of love sans love-songs." -- Felicity Clark * Perfect Beat *

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