World, Latin, & Reggae

Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited

When: Sat., Feb. 15, 9:30 p.m. 2014

Thomas Mapfumo is an exiled Zimbabwean political activist who has been making music that details the struggle of his people to achieve self-rule for nearly forty years. In the 1970s, he created chimurenga music by transposing the Shona people’s use of the African thumb piano onto electric guitars and bass, drums, and horns, and by blending in elements of jazz and blues: It’s moving and emotional, in addition to being socially conscious and intellectually engaging. Mapfumo now lives in Eugene, Oregon and has been barred from returning to his homeland for the past five years, but he continues to make music that is passionate about the struggle of Zimbabweans. Over the years, his band, Blacks Unlimited, has undergone a variety of lineup changes, but at Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley) this week, it will consist of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer/percussionist, and two singers.

Madeleine Key

Price: $20, $25

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