In 1980, the year of Zimbabwean Independence, Rise Kagona founded the Bhundu Boys. The arrival of Biggie Tembo began a partnership that's since had a profound effect on Zimbabwean music, not to mention my social life and musical tastes. The first two albums, Shabini' and Tsvimbodzemoto,' though never intended for release outside Zimbabwe, swept away everyone who heard them here sparkling masterpieces both. The boys moved to a house in London's Kensal Green, living together a bit like the Beatles in HELP!, and they gigged and gigged. Not a corner of the UK remained unconquered. A Bhundu show, for me, became one delirious trip (can I say trip?) - after one Manchester show I had to be resuscitated. Their third LP changed the course of Zimbabwe music again. In the first months of 1988, Harare was swinging to True Jit's Smoother Euro-friendly sound. 'Rugare' seemed to play from every radio and passers-by shouted song titles at Biggie in the street. Every other band we met wanted to get into a posh London studio to make their own True Jit. From the opening track of Pamberi', the thunderous "Chitaunhike, it's clear the Bhundus have moved on again; taking up the traditional mbira for Chitima Kwe; dabbling in areas close to dub for Chimbira'. I can already hear the harmonjes of Viva Chinhoyi drifting over the back yards of Highfield and Mufakose townships. It sounds great in Crouch End too. Andy Kershaw, London 1989.
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