Oliver Mtukudzi, affectionately called “Tuku” by fans worldwide, has weathered storms with his sharp observations and gracious emphasis on the basic human experiences that unite us all: childhood and aging, respect and hope, women’s rights and AIDS, community and connection.
“My music and art come from the everyday living I do,” Mtukudzi reflects. “I write what I see around me. When I see something, I have something real to talk about. If there is something to talk about, there’s something to sing about, and there’s always something new to talk about.”
Tuku’s latest album Sarawoga (U.S. release: May 21, 2013) proves that the venerable artist still has plenty to say. With a career that spans the birth of his native Zimbabwe and the advent of both Afropop and the global love affair with African roots music, Tuku’s quicksilver guitar work, keen ear for melody, and evocative voice have earned him intense adulation at home. His organic, savvy mix of traditional ways, pan-African influences, and cosmopolitan pop forms became widely known as Tuku Music. It has made Tuku a household name across Southern Africa, as well as across Europe and North America, thanks in part to major releases of his work in the 1990s and 2000s.