Zimbabwe R&B

Raised in Zimbabwe and the U.S., Chiwoniso Maraire is one of Zimbabwe's few female mbira (thumb piano) players. Sung in the Shona language and English, her songs — such as "Mai" — combine traditional Shona melodies, rhythms and messages with generic guitar-driven American pop-R&B. The strongest tunes, predictably, hearken back to the homeland's spirituality and home life. But they are the exception on a fairly toothless album.