Andy Brown|Forever - A Tribute To A Legend

Legendary Zimbabwean musician, Andy Brown died on March 16th, 2012, a day after his 50th birthday. For more than three decades, his guitar riffs and edgy acoustic sound mesmerised both Zimbabweans and the international music scene.

Andy’s sound was as eclectic as his own background – he was born to a white father and black mother, raised in the countryside, went to high school in Bulawayo, and then left for Harare. In the capital, his journey to fame began as he played with local groups with names such as Impact, Ebony Sheik, Pisces and Grabb!.

But it was with Ilanga, formed in 1985, that he came into his own. He joined forces with Don Gumbo, Busi Ncube, Adam Chisvo and Cde Chinx, forming one of the most influential Zimbabwean bands ever. On vocals and lead guitar, the tall mixed-race boy with a box cut came into the public eye.

Ilanga was too star-studded to survive, and soon it disbanded. Andy went solo forming his own band, The Storm with whom Andy went on to release more than 10 albums. His music incorporated mbira rhythms, and even the West African kora, as he became one of Zimbabwe’s biggest exports to world music.

With his wife, Chiwoniso on mbira and vocals, his star grew. In 1998, he helped Chiwoniso record Ancient Voices, an iconic release. The guitar on Wandirasa (“You Have Left Me”) was authoritative, vintage Andy.

Over the years, Andy shared stages with luminaries such as Salif Keita, Baba Maal, Miriam Makeba and Manu Dibango. Few guitarists could have swung between the disco of the likes of Grabb!, the reggae of his early solo years, the Storm’s hybrid, and that strikingly relentless soukouss on his song Fiona, as effortlessly as Andy did. He preferred to call his art "world music", but while it had many influences, there was one consistency.

"You will always find that I will guard jealously the Zimbabwean language," he said.

It goes without saying; Andy left a vast catalogue of hits in his wake. Hits like Mapurisa, Mawere Kongonya and Shungu have left an indelible mark on the modern culture of the Zimbabwean people and on the African music landscape. In fact, Andy’s original track, Shungu was picked up and remixed by South African group Revolution who renamed it ZimConnection and took the song to unimaginable music chart heights.

The Andy Brown Forever Project

Powerful music is not all Andy left behind though. He is survived by nine children, one of which many have begun to know as a rising Zimbabwean star in her own right, Ammara Brown. Over a year after Andy’s death, through the Andy Brown Forever Project, Ammara has embarked on a mission to celebrate her father’s music with the world. This website is just the beginning.

Do continue to visit us for more information about the Andy Brown Forever Project, new music inspired by Andy Brown and much, much more.

About the Andy Brown Forever Project