• Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012

    Carnegie Hall Presents Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwean Singer & "Struggle" Music Creator, On October 20

    Image of Thomas Mapfumo © Banning Eyre. 
    On Saturday, October 20 at 10:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall, Zimbabwe-born singer Thomas Mapfumo—known throughout the world as “The Lion of Zimbabwe” for his immense popularity and political influence—performs the revolutionary chimurenga music that he both created and made popular with his band, The Blacks Unlimited. Chimurenga is a Shona language word for “struggle,” and while its modern interpretation has been extended to describe struggle for human rights, political dignity, and social justice, Mapfumo coined the phrase to describe his music—rooted in traditional Shona mbira music, and featuring modern electronic instrumentation and politically charged lyrics—which evolved during Zimbabwe's struggle to gain independence in the early 1970s. This concert is presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with the World Music Institute.

    Thomas Mapfumo has been a witness to and participant in history in his native Zimbabwe. From the bloody years of the country's liberation war in the 1970s, through the present economic and political crises, Mapfumo has used his revolutionary, spiritually charged music to decry injustice and highlight the historical and cultural issues that underlie the news headlines. Mapfumo is universally hailed as a musical visionary and a fearless social critic in addition to being one of the most celebrated African bandleaders of the past century.

    By the summer of 2000, conditions in Zimbabwe had deteriorated, and Mapfumo’s songs—perceived as critical of the government—were unofficially banned from state controlled airwaves. Mapfumo moved his family to the United States that year, and has since—along with his band—established a foundation in Oregon. In Zimbabwe, virtually all Mapfumo's music has been banned, and government-controlled press outlets have for the first time begun to write negatively about him. Despite growing risks, Mapfumo had continued to return to Zimbabwe with the band to play traditional year-end concerts for as long as he felt safe doing so. He has not returned to Zimbabwe since 2004.

    Prior to Mapfumo’s performance, starting at 9:00 p.m., ticketholders are invited to enjoy Late Nights at Zankel Hall, a laid-back pre-concert experience. The first 200 ticketholders to arrive will receive a complimentary drink courtesy of Carnegie Hall. For more information, please visit carnegiehall.org/latenights.

    Program Information
    Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.
    Zankel Hall
    Thomas Mapfumo, Vocals, acoustic guitar
    The Blacks Unlimited
       Christopher Muchabaiwa, Bass
       Gilbert Zvamaida, Guitar
       Lancelot Kashesha, Keyboard and Congas
       Chakaipa Mhembere, Mbira
       Eric Orem, Drums
       Brooks Barnett, Trumpet

    Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with World Music Institute.

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
    Single tickets, priced at $42 and $49, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or online by visiting carnegiehall.org. For more information on discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.
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