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Making traditional musical instruments

Thomas Mapfumo: a popular musician

Thomas Mapfumo is probably the best-known Zimbabwean musician, with hits like 'Chamutengure' (The Uplifter), 'Mamvemve' (Tatters) and the CDs 'Africa' and 'Shumba'. All of his recent music uses 'the triplet' - a combination of the sounds of the mbira, hosho and ngoma.

Thomas gained much of his early musical knowledge from his grandfather, who hosted traditional musical events. These were community occasions, with local people playing local musical instruments.

In the 1960s, Thomas started listening to and imitating contemporary music by people like Elvis Presley and Little Richard. However, he also tried to keep up the ideas of his Shona-tribe upbringing.

In the 1970s, the black population of Zimbabwe began to seek independence and Mapfumo gained a new name - Chimurenga (Liberation) - because his music concentrated on singing out against injustice and for liberation. The sounds of the old instruments, sometimes transposed into guitar and bass, became typical of his work. His musical roots have never left him.

Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe's most famous musican, who has played all over the world.

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