Thomas Mapfumo is an innovator in the music of Zimbabwe - where most performers of that nation’s Afro-pop would exclusively do traditional or traditionally-based songs, Mapfumo played his own often politically charged material. Further, his music absorbed the sounds of Anglo-American rock & roll (like The Beatles) as well as funk, soul (Wilson Pickett) and jazz (TM recorded a fine album in collaboration with Wadada Leo Smith, Dreams & Secrets). This platter from 2000 features what TM does best: effervescent Afro-pop guitar lines (at times slightly reminiscent of the cosmic stylings of the late Jerry Garcia), subtly poignant, folkish singing and ebullient rhythms, sophisticated without ever sounding too slick or assembly-line. There are elements of Western music evident (funky bass lines, the scorching, almost psychedelic electric guitar solo that concludes "Big In America"), but TM has digested them fully and absorbed them into his approach - there’re no "concessions" to the Western pop scene(s) but no stuffy, elitist notions of "cultural purity" either. All the tracks hover about the 7-minute range, yet one particular high point is the 12-minute closer "Marimuka," where TM and company get into some wonderful extended improvs - guests Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser get to shine on trumpet and guitar, respectively. Anyone who loves contemporary African guitar-based music and is interested in where it could go in the future should def. hear Mapfumo, and this swell platter is a fine place to start.