Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Sunday Jit Jive....

Probably the best known Zimbabwean guitar band, the Bhundu Boys brought the Harare sound to the UK and Europe in the mid 80s to much acclaim. Mixing Zimbabwean styles with rhumba influences from the Congo, the Bhundus labelled their fast-paced guitar music jit-jive. They were heavily championed by John Peel and Andy Kershaw in the mid 80's and looked at one point that success was just around the corner but it was not to be....

The full story of the demise of the original Bhundu Boys reads like the script of a tragic Hollywood movie but sadly it was all true with a suicide and AIDS related deaths amongst the many tragedies that befell them. The all-too-literal death of the Bhundu Boys would be a tragedy in any context, but it stings all the more because their music was so replete with the promise and joy of being alive.

The Bhundu Boys created their best work before they ever reached Britain. The Shed Sessions - a still-available compilation of tracks from their early albums - knocks several spots off their 1988 major label debut, True Jit which was slickly and soullessly recorded by Sade producer Robin Millar. The early recordings remain natural, effortless, packed full of personality and just full of bloody great POP tunes.

Forget the major label stuff but The Shed Sessions is well worth adding to your "world music" collections.

The Bhundu Boys - Hupenyu Hwangu

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