Wednesday, November 16, 2011

James Chimombe and the Huchi Band - Jemedza (1990)

One of Zimbabwe's great singers and guitarists had a short-lived career, but one that left a permanent legacy in the country. In his 39 years James Chimombe passed through several bands, including Thomas Mapfumo's formative Acid Band, before developing into a headliner himself with the Ocean City Band.

Chimombe was a passionate singer, and this final album of his career showcases his fine voice as well as his light-fingered guitar style. While one can hear similarities to Mapfumo's chimurenga, there also are also strands of rumba as well as echoes from Kenya and South Africa.

I usually do not draw from text on a record sleeve, but in small print on this one is a great summary and touching tribute to this musician that I cannot surpass:
On Tuesday 23rd October at only 39 years old James Chimombe passed away having established himself as one of the most professional and dedicated musicians in Zimbabwe. Not only a dedicated musician, James was also a director of Z.I.M.R.A. and a staunch supporter of the College Of Music's Ethnomusicology Program.
James was born in Chivhu in 1951,  but grew up and was educated in Highfield Harare. Whilst in his teens he joined the Pop Settlers as lead vocalist, singing cover versions of popular songs. From Pop Settlers James progressed to the Harare Mambos and then to Thomas Mapfumo's Acid Band in the early seventies, playing lead guitar. The mid-seventies saw James playing with O.K. Success Band and in 1983, James Chimombe joined the Ocean City Band. With them, as lead vocalist and guitarist, the O.C.B. had several hit singles and albums. . . In 1988 James made his final move, forming his own group called 'Huchi Band.' Together they released several singles, and their debut album Zvaitika released in November 1989.
Jemedza is the last album to be completed before James' death, and long-time friend and producer Tymon Mabeleka believes that songs included here are of particular significance as James seemed to know that death was imminent and there are many references to the ancestral homes of the spirits.
Jemedza is a wonderful tribute to a man who dedicated his life to music — creating it, playing it and teaching it. James Chimombe was a quiet, considerate and dedicated person. His music will live on in our hearts forever. 
Indeed. This is a very nice album.


Apurva Bahadur said...

This is a very talented artist. Many thanks for sharing. Apurva from Pune, India.

Shumba said...

Great tunes from great artist. Lived on same road with James "Jimmy" during his last days on this earth. Great & humble man he was...." Thanks 4 sharing

Rhythm Connection said...

very happy to oblige. what I like about doing it is the connections that are made all over the world: rhythm connections.

Richie Roads said...

Great recording, great quality. I have some of these songs on his Greatest Hits CD, but your vinyl rips sound way better. Thanks