The Early Works of the Queen of Mbira

Stella Chiweshe – Kasahwa: Early Singles (Glitterbeat, 2018)

Kasahwa:Early Singles introduces for the first time a set of rare early recordings by Zimbabwean mbira (thumb piano) pioneer Stella Chiweshe. These fascinating singles were only released in Zimbabwe and are very hard to find.

Most of the tracks were recorded in the 1970s and early 1980s, featuring solo mbira as well as mbira with vocals and shakers. Nick Robbins remastered these recordings for Kasahwa and are now available on CD, vinyl and digital.

Playing mbira as a woman was a very difficult task. It was traditionally played by men and Stella Chiweshe had a lot of difficulty finding a teacher and an mbira maker willing to build one for her one. Eventually, she borrowed one and recorded her first single.

Stella Chiweshe became a local sensation. After Zimbabwe became an independent nation in1980,  Chiweshe started touring internationally, first as a soloist of the new National Dance Company of Zimbabwe, and later under her own name.

Kasahwa: Early Singles showcases the pioneering work of Stella Chiweshe on the mesmerizing mbira.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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