A struggle in sound

Lion Songs

Writer Banning Eyre tells the story of his longtime friend Zimbabwe-born musical legend Thomas Mapfumo and his fight against the corrupt government that led to his eventual, self-imposed exile. (Mapfumo now resides with his family in Eugene, Oregon). Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe (Duke University Press, $34.95) chronicles how Mapfumo founded chimurenga, or “struggle music,” an uplifting style of music characterized by odd, oft-repeating guitar and bass phrasing against a similar juxtaposing drum beat. His lyrical content, however, was what helped land him in jail and made authorities consider him a threat.