Dr Hukwe Zawose Dies at 65

London, England – Real World Records announced today the death of Dr Hukwe
Zawose on Tuesday 30 December 2003 at his home in Bagamoyo, Tanzania at the age
of 65.

Born in Doduma, a rural area of Tanzania, Dr Zawose was a legend in his own land,
a clan leader and community mentor who had single-handedly breathed new life
into the ancient traditional music of the Wagogo people. He first appeared in
Great Britain in the early-eighties with the Master Musicians of Tanzania. His
extraordinary 5-octave vocal range – switching between a high, feminine sound
and a form of throat-singing and his exquisite playing of the buzzing ilimba
thumb piano or the sensuous one-stringed izeze fiddle mesmerized audiences. The
first of many appearances at WOMAD began at Mersea Island, UK in 1985.Basing himself in the old Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo, where he devoted his time
to founding and then teaching at the unique College of Performing Arts and
presiding over a huge extended family, Dr Zawose travelled to the four corners
of the globe, engaging his audiences in his taut and extraordinary web of
singing and dancing talent, often travelling with his brilliant nephew Charles
Zawose. In 2002 Hukwe and Charles accompanied Peter Gabriel as support act
during his Growing Up Tour.

Dr Zawose recorded a number of albums during his life, including the traditional Chibite recorded in 1995 at the Real World ‘Recording Week’ and Spear
To the Heart
on the WOMAD Select label – both featuring emotional polyphonic
vocal pyrotechnics with Charles. Most recently Dr Zawose teamed up with the
highly respected producer/guitarist Michael Brook to concoct a rendezvous of
traditional and modern sounds, ancient spirit meets digital technology. The
result was Assembly (released on Real World Records in May 2002). This
was Michael Brook’s reaction to the news of his death: “Hukwe’s voice and
music always made me feel a sense of light, slightly giddy happiness. In person,
his effect was similar, which makes his passing all the sadder. I’ll miss his
remarkable talent and humour, and feel honored to have known and worked with him

One of his final collaborations was with Peter Gabriel on the track ‘Animal
Nation’ which they also performed together on tour: “I was devastated to hear
of Hukwe’s death. He was an extraordinary musician, singer and composer and made
most of the most beautiful music we have ever put out on Real World Records.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.