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Afropop legend Oliver Mtukudzi with The Black Spirits to take the stage in Durango March 23

By Indiana Reed
Special to The PREVIEW

Zimbabwe’s national treasure, Oliver Mtukudzi, will take the stage at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College with his ensemble The Black Spirits, on Saturday, Mar. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Mtukudzi is revered as a talented guitarist/singer/songwriter who has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. “Tuku,” as he is known, offers music heavily influenced by a humanist chimurenga ethos and is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His work also incorporates the South Africa mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style jit, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan. A member of Zimbabwe’s Kore Kore tribe, Tuku sings in the nation’s dominant Shona language, as well as Ndebele and English. He is gifted with a deep and gutsy voice and a talent for writing songs that reflect the daily life and struggles of his people.

Tuku has become such a force in the musical landscape of South Africa that his name has become synonymous with his style. “Tuku music” has evolved into something distinct from any other Zimbabwean sound. His album “Tuku Music” propelled him onto the international stage, touring with Taj Mahal, and Tourmani Diabate and Baaba Maal as part of the Africa Fete tour. He is an alumnus of Acoustic Africa II (2011) and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, focusing on youth development and HIV and AIDS prevention.

In North America, Tuku is one of the most successful African recording artists, and one of his biggest fans is singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Tuku “a treasure,” and recorded a cover of his “Hear Me Lord,” but also credits Tuku as the inspiration for her song “One Belief Away” on her album “Fundamental.”

Tickets for Oliver Mtukudzi and The Black Spirits — $18/$28 — are available by calling (970) 247-7657, on the web at www.durangoconcerts.com, or from ticket office inside the Welcome Center at 8th Street and Main Avenue in downtown Durango.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30 p.m.

On show day, the box office at the Concert Hall will be open one hour prior to curtain, and remain open through intermission. When no intermission is scheduled, ticket sales will continue one hour past curtain. Purchase tickets to three or more Concert Hall productions in one sales transaction and receive 10 percent off each ticket. Discounts cannot be combined, and all sales final.

The Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multiuse performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.

This story was posted on March 14, 2013.