CalabashMusic Releases Exclusive Digital World Music is
breaking new ground by offering one of the first recordings
by a world music artist to only be released in digital format.

Thomas Mapfumo
outspoken Zimbabwean living in exile in the United States of America- has chosen to bypass the middle
men and even the manufacturer going direct from studio to MP3 on his new album,
Rise Up. The album will be available exclusively as a digital download
making Mapfumo the first artist to release an entire world music album in
digital format only. I would add a strong musical influence filtered from the court dances of Europe,
via the post-Islamic courts of Spain (this is particularly true of the 3/4, 6/8
forms which don’t seem to me to be characteristic of Middle Eastern rhythms
except in very basic forms….

Furthermore, the April 12 release will be accompanied by a
download package of an entire catalog of his recorded music—over 130 songs—for
The “Mapfumo Files”—as this unboxable set has been dubbed—contain the previously
unreleased Rise Up, and fourteen other Mapfumo albums, including a
never-released-before recording called Afropop Worldwide Presents Thomas Mapfumo
and the Blacks Unlimited, Live in New York
. Afropop Worldwide’s Sean Barlow
says: “Our landmark live recording at SOB’s in 1991 catches Thomas and his band
when they first achieved their fully matured sound. With two mbira players right
up front, the repertoire alternates between traditionally based songs and
uptempo dance tunes with the swing of African jazz in Thomas’ unique horn
arrangements. One of Afropop’s most sublime recordings ever
.” The recording
features key band members Sebastian Mbata (drums), Charles Makokova (bass) and
Ephraim Karimaura (guitar) who have passed away since the recording was made.

Here we have possibly the most prolific voice for a generation of social
protest in Zimbabwe
,” explains founder Brad Powell. “He has tried the path of working with
record labels and is now seeking a more direct route to fans, cutting out some
of the middle-men in the process. He has spent recent months recovering the
rights to his music and publishing. And now he has found our fair trade model
which earns a higher royalty than any other record deal he has had in his life,
in 40 years of being in music
.” is the premiere world music only digital download website. The
company has established a Fair Trade model in which independent artists get half
of retail sales. Calabash is fast-establishing a reputation for creating
forward-thinking strategic partnerships that bring the music industry into the
modern age.

Calabash is the provider of content for the digital retail store of national
radio program Afropop Worldwide. Afropop makes its exclusive recordings such as
the live Mapfumo concert and the recent Festival in the Desert — The Tent
, a intimate set of live “field recordings” available as digital
downloads solely through Calabash. The Tent Sessions were also released as a
video documentary, which was broadcast exclusively by Link TV, the United State’s only
national TV broadcaster of world music videos.

Calabash plays a similar role with Link TV, who also use Calabash’s catalog of
music to power their online retail outlet. This satellite channel broadcasts up
to four hours of world music videos each day. Viewers are directed to Link’s
website where they can purchase MP3s and CDs by the artists performing on their
screens. Calabash also just launched a weekly video premier of new music videos
available as streams on the website, timed to coincide with Link’s broadcast of
a new video.

[Thomas Mapfumo photo courtesy of]