Tendai Maraire Exlores His Zimbabwean Roots

Tendai 'Baba' Maraire - Wona Baba Maraire
Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire

Wona Baba Maraire
(Maraire Enterprises, 2011)

Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire of avant-garde hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces has released this album where he returns to his Zimbabwean Shona music roots. Baba Maraire grew up in South Seattle in the United States and was exposed to his family’s Zimbabwean music as well as American musical styles.

The album titled Wona Baba Maraire presents an exciting mix of Zimbabwean mbira lines, Southern African-style vocals, American soul and West African rhythms in a jam-like fashion.

Tendai sings almost entirely in the Shona language. The songs on Wona Baba Maraire are intended to inspire and educate; a mission that Baba Maraire learned from his father’s legacy.

Tendai plays Shona mbira and a variety of West African and Afro-Cuban instruments: jembe, conga, junjun. He’s joined by soul singer Kevin Gardner, Guinean percussionist Karim Koumbassa on drums, and several family members on background vocals: Lora Chiorah Dye (mother), Nyoka (fiancée) and Tintenda (cousin).

I do this music for my people because I love it,” says Tendai in the liner notes. “I pay respect to my culture. To keep the culture, history, and what we’re about live.”

Wona Baba Maraire is a powerful album that brings together the fine Shona tradition of Zimbabwe with the beats of West Africa and the African diaspora.

CD at: cdbaby.com/cd/BabaMaraire

Digital version

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 co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (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. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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