To see native Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi live is like being a flame in a brush fire. Pure exhilaration. This giant of a man with guitar thrills audiences with his explosive music and his incredible “Can Can” kicks as he strums away. The hall cheers and dances with an abandon that is simply blissful.
Unfortunately, no matter the advances in technology, the recorded performance always pales in magnificence when compared to its live counterpart. It is hard to capture (or explain) the thrill of this man’s music and its infectious dance fever. Instead, Vhunze Moto (“Burning Ember”) emits a completely different vibe. It’s quite mellow — and equally beautiful. A soft, breezy rain after a hard day’s work.
Mtukudzi is a master song craftsman, filling this, his third Putumayo release, with delicious melodies and hip-swaying tenderness. While you definitely won’t work up the sweat you would at one of his concerts, you will find yourself moving throughout your home with a permanent grin on your ridiculous façade. This is a disc one must reserve for the joyful moments (whether you’re trying to preserve one or create one) because it is a true celebration of music, of life, of how music can affect one’s life.
Putumayo Records: http://www.putumayo.com