In its 20th year of existence, Boka Marimba continues to rock the Pacific Northwest with the sounds of Zimbabwean-style marimba. The band started with a workshop in Portland, Oregon with the late Dumisani Maraire in 1987 and has had over 50 members in its history. Boka’s current 10 members have taken their style of collective improvisation from the sounds of the mbira, the ancient music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, it is said that during the night if you hear the howling of the wild dogs it means that there is a lion nearby. The dogs often follow behind the lions and feed on the remains of a lion’s kill. The lion is also considered the carrier of the most powerful spirits in Zimbabwe (the Mhondoro spirits). It is believed that when a Mhondoro spirit is not possessing a person it lives in the lion. So, when you hear the wild dogs howl there is not only the presence of a lion but also the Mhondoro spirits. In the same way that the wild dog follows the lions, the mbira players must follow the Mhondoro spirits.
Like the mbira players of Zimbabwe, we follow the spirit of this amazing music!