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The Return of the Zawose Family

The name of Hukwe Zawose is legendary in East African music and beyond. His appearances at past WOMAD Festivals have become mythic, his recordings for Real World Records and his work with Peter Gabriel and Michael Brook established this great traditional artist in a contemporary context. Peter Gabriel said Hukwe Zawose’s music was “some of the most beautiful music we have ever put out on Real World Records” and invited him to be the support act for the 2003 ‘Growing Up’ tour of North America. This was to be Hukwe’s last trip abroad. On returning to Tanzania at the end of that year he died suddenly of AIDS, followed only one year later by his young nephew and collaborator Charles Zawose.

In spite of the hardships this devastation has brought to the family, the music has survived – the house in Bagamoyo, Tanzania is still buzzing with sound, possibly more than before as conscious mortality makes what is left over even more sacred. There is a new energy in the family learning from the bad times and building for a better future for the whole family and its music – a music that will never be lost.

For the first time the new generation of the Zawose Family are touring the UK this summer (inclding WOMAD Charlton Park) . To celebrate the return of this inspirational family Real World has released a new CD. ‘Small Things Fall From the Baobab Tree’ traces the extraordinary legacy, as one musical legend passes and the door opens on a new era. Recorded at Real World Studios and at radio station in Seattle a number of these songs are the last ever recordings of the great Hukwe Zawose and his uniquely talented nephew Charles before their untimely deaths. The CD also introduces the voice of the new generation – the young Zawose Family – rapturous, joyous, polyphonic singing accompanying buzzing thumb pianos, soaring izeze fiddle and exuberant rhythms.

The CD will sold in support of the charitable Zawose Foundation and available mail order or at the band’s live appearances this summer. More information about the Zawose family, the Foundation and a new documentary film about the Zawose story go to the link below.