Various Artists, Zambush Vol. 1: Zambian Hits from the 80s
A delightful collection of Zambian pop
There's not a lot of Zambian pop in circulation outside Africa, perhaps because it took a government initiative that required most of the music played on the national radio to be made in Zambia to kick the music scene into high gear. The rhythms and thin, shimmering guitar sound of the '80s Zambian dance music — mostly kalindula — collected here owed a certain amount to rumba, but they evolved into something distinctive and lovely, with a crazily active low end; the beginning of Amayenge's "Kusiyana Siyana Kwa Maofesi" even seems to take some cues from new wave. The compilation's highlight, Green Labels '"Kwacha Ngwee," seems to have been recorded in a pretty ad-hoc way, but the winning cheapness of its electric piano sound and the hey-kids-let's-put-on-a-show enthusiasm of its chorus make it a total delight.