Various Artists

For those days when you emerge from the bottom of the scrum of life
pulling sod from your chin, this CD serves as an instant
restorative. A quick blast of exuberance from Roots Rock Guitar
Party
and you feel no pain, extraneous stroppy moods vanishing
in an explosion of joyously jangly guitars and revved-up vocalists.
There isn’t a more buoyant music on the planet than that made in
Zimbabwe, and this compilation ratchets that up a notch or two with
its focus on the cream of the country’s peppy guitar sound. The
rhythm guitar is the key to Zimbabwean pop, and some of the
country’s top bands-John Chibadura & Tembo Brothers, Max
Mapfumo & Dopiro Band and the Four Brothers-show why on this
gregarious set, from cascades of staccato plucking in the style of
the native mbira, or thumb piano, to the hyper strumming of
Chibadura’s Nhamo. Bright and twangy, the musical vibe is mirrored
by the lyrical one; most of the songs, sung in Shona, are
inspirational, urging us to ignore gossips, see through pretenders
and not give up the fight. Call it the power of positive guitar.
Call me a believer.

FromEscape(December,
1999.) Subscriptions: $18/yr. (4 issues) from Box 462255,
Escondido, CA 92046.

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