|Birth||30 January 1983|
Leonard Mapfumo (born January 30, 1983) is an urban grooves/hip-hop artist from Harare, Zimbabwe. Active on the national hip-hop scene since 2002, he has gained recognition as one of the fathers of Zimbabwean urban sounds, with four number one hits on the national charts.
Mapfumo was born in Highfields, a high-density suburb of Harare, before moving with his family to Mbare, another high-density suburb, at age 11. He attended Kudzanai Primary School until grade 7, when he moved to Mount Pleasant High School.
Mapfumo began recording and performing immediately upon graduating high school in 2000. His first commercial success came with the single “Seiko”, on which he featured Rockford Josphat (Roki), and topped the national charts upon its release in 2002.
In 2005 he released his first album, R & L, a collaboration with Roki. The album’s success, particularly Mapfumo’s single “Maidei”, established him as a fixture in the Zimbabwean urban music scene. “Maidei” also reached number 1 on the national charts, staying there for an unprecedented 42 weeks (still a record).
During this early period of his career Mapfumo toured extensively in Zimbabwe.
2007 to Present
In 2007 Mapfumo released his second album and first solo work, Namapfumo, and also founded his own studio, Heshi Mfeshi. The album was another success, scoring with the singles “Mvura” and “Chiuya”, the former reaching the top of the national charts. He continued intensive touring of Zimbabwe in promotion of the album.
Mapfumo’s latest work, The Journey, was released in 2010, including the song “Two Chete”, which scored his fourth number 1 single. The album will soon be released in South Africa under the Blue Diamond Record Company.
On a personal level he is currently involved with an unknown British doctor with whom he is rumored to have been seeing for the last 18 months. Sources say the two have begun to be seen in public recently and the future is bright.
Style and Influences
Mapfumo is often cited as being a father of the “urban grooves” sound in Zimbabwe. Mapfumo performs almost exclusively in Shona, utilizing with traditional sayings and proverbs.
He has collaborated with numerous other Zimbabwean musicians. His work with Roki, particularly on the single “Seiko” and their 2005 joint album R & L, played a key role in launching both artists to the forefront of the Zimbabwean music scene.
R & L (2005)
The Journey (2010)
The road to Israel (2012)
Access point 414317 (2016)