He seemed so casual — sitting on a bar stool behind the Tiny Desk, acoustic guitar in hand — but when you hear that husky voice, you’ll know why he’s a legend. Oliver Mtukudzi, or “Tuku” as his fans lovingly call him, plays spirited music, born from the soul of Zimbabwe. He’s been recording since the late 1970s, with about as many albums as his age: 60.
But Mtukudzi’s new record reveals a heavier heart than before: Sarawoga is his first recording since the loss of his son Sam. He and Sam — also a guitar player, as well as a saxophonist — had a special relationship touring together. But in March 2010, Sam Mtukudzi was killed in a car crash at the age of 21. Oliver Mtukudzi recently told NPR’s Tell Me More that “the only way to console myself is to carry on doing what we loved doing most. Sitting down [to] cry and mourn — I think it would have killed me.”
All three songs, “Todii,” “Huroi” and “Haidyoreke” are all gentle, with Tuku’s guitar playing mellow meandering melodies and his gravelly voice being soothing at the same time. It’s interesting that for “Todii,” a more upbeat song he is clearly singing not in English, but the chorus (sung by the backing musicians) is “What Shall We Do.” The backing musicians are there for percussion–congas, and maracas–and backing vocals. And their vocals are done in a traditional way.
[READ: January 2, 2017] Volcanoes
This Science Comics book was very different from the previous two. It was designed as a fictional story full of with factual information.
At first I found this really weird and off-putting, but by the end, I thought the story was pretty compelling and that the factual information was presented in an interesting and informative way. And what I realized afterward was not that I didn’t like the fictional aspect but that I really didn’t like the illustrations.
For some reason, Chad chose to have the main characters with very distinctive and unusual features. Aurora, the main character had a line of black hair down her forehead. Her sister, Luna, has really really big eyes and their guardian, Pallas, has a block of gray hair. I found all of these choices to be unsettling and unpleasing to look at (although it does allow us to tell them apart quite easily). However the volcano and other nature images were really fantastic. (more…)