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