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Top 10 World Music CDs

December , 2006

Rise Up
Real World

The story of the Lion of Zimbabwe was retold in our December cover feature-his life in exile, his struggle to get his music released, his long history of political activism-yet even though the album is called Rise Up, it doesn't sound nearly as angry as one would expect. The bouncing chimurenga music, driven by electric mbira as well as a mix of traditional and modern instruments, is often as sunny as a summer day. Mapfumo saves the real fire for his lyrics on songs like "I'm Mad As Hell," "It's Payback Time," "Suffer In Silence," turning toward sadness and resignation on "Let's Go Father" and "What Are They Dying For." First released in a digital-only format, Real World stepped up to put this out in CD form because the music was just too good to not have a proper label behind it.