Oliver 'Tuku' Mtukudzi

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Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, Wasakara

Tuku has been heavily influenced by chimurenga, the genre pioneered by Mapfumo that is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). However chimurenga is just one of many styles performed by Tuku, as his music also incorporates pop influences, South African mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style JIT, or the traditional kateke drumming of his clan, the Korekore.

While Tuku’s music is undeniably contagious, it is his lyrics that have captured the hearts of his people. The words to his songs, performed in the Shona language of Zimbabwe as well as English, invariably deal with social and economic issues. In the face of political turmoil and a horrific AIDS epidemic that has swept the African continent, Oliver's humor and optimism creates an appeal that crosses generations. One of Tuku’s biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Oliver "a treasure", but has also used his music as inspiration for the song "One Belief Away" on her album Fundamental.

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