Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe
Banning Eyre is a freelance writer and guitarist and the senior editor and producer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. He is the author of In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali, Playing With Fire: Fear and Self-Censorship in Zimbabwean Music, and Guitar Atlas: Africa, and the coauthor of AFROPOP! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music. Eyre is a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and his writing has been published in Billboard, Guitar Player, Salon.com, the Boston Phoenix, CMJ, Option, Folk Roots, Global Rhythm, and other publications. He has also performed and recorded with Thomas Mapfumo.
Lions in Winter
This chapter reflects on the lessons of Mapfumo’s life and career to date. The author shows how Mapfumo’s family and musicians have adjusted to life in Oregon. Mapfumo and his wife reconcile. The chapter centers on the argument that Mapfumo’s choice of exile represents his prioritizing his family above his career. The career has suffered, from lack of financial support and competent allies, but also from being removed from his most important source of inspiration: Zimbabwe itself. Meanwhile, his family thrives in America, and he continues to compose, record, and perform, ever working to return and perform in Zimbabwe. The...