Track of the Week: “Hear Me Lord,” by Oliver Mtukudzi

Track of the WeekAfrican pop music rarely makes its way to American shores. I imagine that the language barrier has a great deal to do with the scarcity of African music here in the states. “Hear Me Lord,” however, is sung in English by Oliver Mtukudzi with one of the most powerful male voices I’ve ever heard.

This song features some two guitars. Mtududzi plays the rhythm part while another guitarist, whose name I’ve failed to find, plays lead. That’s unfortunate, because the lead guitar part is particularly interesting. The palm-muted melody is uplifting and the hook is a pentatonic sequence that I teach my students in all five positions of the pentatonic scale. Take a listen.

It makes me smile to know that pentatonic scales are so ubiquitous that they can be in heard music from every continent, assuming that some cold dude at some Antarctic scientific research facility plays pentatonic scales too.

I first heard this song on NPR’s syndicated radio show World Cafe on WTMD in Towson. This song blows me a way every time I hear it and it is because of the power of Mtukudzi’s voice and that power is fueled by the energy of the guitars.

For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit

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