“Artfully crafted, this volume transverses key moments in recent Zimbabwean history heard through the author's sophisticated discussion of specific Mtukudzi songs as well as through the deep and varied reactions of listeners to those songs. Like the best ethnomusicology, the book clearly and forcefully demonstrates the real, tangible importance of popular music in social life.”
— Thomas Turino, author of Nationalists, Cosmoplitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe
“This is an excellent expanded professional biography of Oliver Mtukudzi, the famous Zimbabwean popular band leader, composer, and troubadour. Jennifer W. Kyker has dedicated many months of tireless on-site research in Zimbabwe and internationally to provide this kind of loving detail. The results of such a wealth of interviews and interactions with a range of participants in Mtukuzdi's career as well as Mtukudzi himself are richly evident not only in the main text but in the 'dialogue boxes' of selections from interviews and other materials thoughtfully provided at the end, along with several appendices and a photo gallery.”
— David Coplan, author of In Township Tonight!
“Informed by two decades of intimate engagement with Zimbabwean music and religion, Kyker’s study offers the first sustained examination of Oliver Mtukudzi’s oeuvre, and reveals the rich political literacies at work in local and diasporic practices of listening. Kyker illumines how audiences and performers collaborate to make meaning. Along with exemplary analyses of his musical idiom, this work shows how, like deep Shona proverbs, Tuku’s lyrics are frequently transplanted into varying contemporary commentaries. Innovative, meticulous, and exquisitely attentive to historical context, this study will be a must-read for the fields of ethnomusicology, African languages, and new African diaspora studies.”
— Tsitsi Jaji, author of Africa in Stereo:Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity
“Jennifer Kyker offers a vivid, insightful account of Oliver Mtukudzi, whose big voice and heartfelt songs make him a living legend of Afropop. Mtukudzi’s commitment to fostering positive social relations emerges with clarity and passion in her writing, which bears witness to how Mtukudzi's music has both shaped and been shaped by Zimbabwean history, politics, and society.”
— Bonnie Raitt