Tag Archives: Zimbabwe

Voices of the Ancestors: Mbira Music of Zimbabwe at ‘A World In Trance’ Music Series

Chartwell Dutiro

Traditional mbira maestro is set to perform Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm at Roulette in New York City. The concert is part of the A World in Trance music series.

This concert of trance-like mbira music will present acclaimed mbira viertuoso Chartwell Dutiro on mbira, lead vocal, and dance. He played at all-night ritual ceremonies (biras) in his native Zimbabwe from the age of four and is best known for his eight-year period with Zimbabwe’s celebrated Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited. He will be joined by his son Shorai Dutiro (mbira, vocal), Glenn West (mbira, vocal), Nora Balaban (mbira, vocal) and Bill Ruyle (hosho – gourds, tabla – tuned drums, percussion).

His most recent album is Pasichigare (2014).

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Celebrated Zimbabwean Band Mokoomba Reveals American Tour

Mokoomba – Photo by Roel Determeije

Zimrock band Mokoomba will be touring the United States during April and May 2017. The band will present its new album, Luyando. The new recording focuses on the acoustic side of the band from Niagara Falls.

The current lineup includes Mathias Muzaza (lead vocals), Ndaba Coster Moyo (drums, backing vocals), Trustworth Samende (lead guitar, backing vocals), Donald Moyo, (keyboards, backing vocals), Miti Mugande, (percussion & backing vocals) and Abundance Mutori (bass, backing vocals).

Mokoomba 2017 Tour Dates

April 28 – New Orleans, LA: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

April 29-30 – Lafayette, LA: Festival Internationale de Louisiane

May 5 – Baltimore, MD: Patterson Theater

May 6 – Washington, DC: Funk Parade

May 9-14 – Black Mountain NC: The LEAF Festival & residency

May 17 – Marlboro, NY: The Falcon

May 18 – Portsmouth, NH: The Music Hall

May 19 – Boston, MA: Villa Victoria Center f/t Arts

May 21 – Joshua Tree, CA: Joshua Tree Music Festival

May 24 – San Francisco, CA: Freight & Salvage

May 25 – Seattle, WA: The Royal Room

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Artist Profiles: Siyaya

The Shona name ‘Siyaya’ means ‘We are on the move’. This high-energy group of musicians, percussionists, vocalists and dancers have offered up some remarkable performances in recent years. Their shows encompass universal themes and traditional stories, interwoven with a passion and a level of humanity deeply rooted in Zimbabwean culture.

The group originated in Bulawayo where they have constantly worked with young people through schools and community programs, nurturing talent and proving that the arts can continue to nourish and sustain communities during political upheavals and instability.

siyaya-arts.com

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Artist Profile: Mokoomba

Mokoomba
Mokoomba

World music act Mokoomba is based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The band’s six members, Mathias Muzaza (lead vocals), Ndaba Coster Moyo (drums, backing vocals), Trustworth Samende (lead guitar, backing vocals), Donald Moyo, (keyboards, backing vocals), Miti Mugande, (percussion & backing vocals) and Abundance Mutori (bass, backing vocals) grew up as friends in the Chinotimba township.

While the majority of Zimbabweans are part of the dominant Shona ethnic group or the large Ndebele minority, the members of Mokoomba hail from a variety of different ethnic groups represented in this border town, including the Luvale, Nyanja, and Tonga peoples; and it was the Tonga who gave mighty Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, its original name: “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (the smoke that thunders).

Living in a border city that attracts tourists from all over the world gave Mokoomba’s music an international perspective from the beginning, incorporating everything from soukous to ska and salsa along with local musical traditions.

The members of Mokoomba started playing music as teenagers, with the help of a local bandleader, the late Alfred Mijimba, who gave the young musicians the experience they needed by hiring them to play local concerts with his band. Even though he was never an international star, Mijimba was a respected local musician, and the members of Mokoomba gained substantial experience under his direction.

The group’s members began playing together in 2001, and Mokoomba was officially formed in 2008. Their first major success came that same year, when they won the Music Crossroads Inter-Regional Festival Competition in Malawi.

In 2009 Mokoomba recorded its first album, Kweseka — Drifting Ahead, produced by Dutch DJ Gregor Salto, as part of the Stand UP anti- poverty campaign funded by AfricaUnsigned. The album generated a local hit “Messe Messe”, and the group’s first European tour. Mokoomba recorded a second EP, Umvundla, with Salto in 2011. But their big break came in 2012, when the band released Rising Tide, produced by pioneering Ivoirian bassist Manou Gallo (Zap Mama, Kiyi M’Bock) for the Belgian label ZigZag World.

Mokoomba - Rising Tide
Mokoomba – Rising Tide

The success of Rising Tide led Mokoomba to tour over 40 countries worldwide in 2012, 2013 and 2014, including performances at Denmark’s Roskilde festival, the UK’s WOMAD festival, Belgium’s Couleur Cafe´ festival, and Morocco’s Gnawa festival.

Mokoomba has become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular bands, playing with such icons as Hugh Masekela and Baba Maal at Zimbabwe’s annual Harare International Festival of the Arts.

Mokoomba was the subject of a documentary called Mokoomba: From One River Bank to Another, by Frank Dalmat and Francis Ducat. The film tells the group’s story in the context of the relationship between culture and economic development in the global south.

In 2015 Mokoomba recorded its self-produced third album Luyando, a stripped down, mostly acoustic album that balances the group’s love of pan-African and international sounds with the local and traditional sounds they also grew up listening to.

Luyando translates as “Mother’s Love” and takes its inspiration from the Makishi masquerade ritual practiced in parts of Zimbabwe and nearby Zambia, which the members of Mokoomba participated in as boys.

The Makishi masquerade is performed at the end of the Mukanda, an initiation ritual for boys between the ages of eight and twelve, when young boys leave their homes and live for one to three months at a bush camp away from their villages. It’s a fundamental and often lonely time in a boy’s life, when they learn the self-assurance required of young men in their community, while still often yearning for the tenderness of their mother’s love. The end of the Mukanda is marked by a joyous graduation ceremony called Chilende, full of colorful masks, music and dancing.


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Siyabonga

Insingizi - African Harmonies – Siyabonga (We Thank You)
Insingizi – African Harmonies – Siyabonga (We Thank You)
Insingizi

African Harmonies – Siyabonga (We Thank You) (ARC Music EUCD 2697, 2015)

Sub-Saharan African vocal harmony records are like cats; it’s hard to find an ugly one. Basically, a well-rounded music collection is going to include some recordings from this genre. They’re rich, pretty, intricate and deep, and they’re in languages we don’t speak, so how does one choose one? The cat analogy comes to mind again. How does one choose one from a shelter?

That’s an individual choice … color, name, first impression, resemblance to others experienced in the past … This CD has a thematic strength. It brings out what is, to the singers, loved and respected about Africa and what is desired and needed for that arguably most tragic of continents. There are gentle pleas to children to be and do better than their predecessors and those of all other regions to make the potential of Africa a reality.

This is a short review because the record is about a very few though very large ideas, not because it does not deserve long attention. Please look for it.

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