The Masanga Marimba Ensemble plays traditional and popular music from Latin America and Africa. The instruments used in this ensemble consist of 7 Zimbabwean marimbas of various sizes along with vocals, drums, percussion, saxophone and trumpet. The word “Masanga” comes from a Zimbabwean (Shona) word that means the coming together of two rivers representing the meeting of Latin and African traditions in this group.
The Masanga Marimba Ensemble was formed in the year 2000 and has performed at the Holloywood Bowl, Grand Performances, Skirball Cultural Center, Madrid Theater, and the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. The ensemble played for the inauguration of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and was also honored to be selected to perform for the World Festival of Sacred Music. The group is led by Dr. Ric Alviso, a Cal State Northridge ethnomusicologist, professor of World Music, and the director of the CSUN African Music Ensemble. Professor Alviso learned traditional Mexican music in his family and studied African music in Senegal and Zimbabwe.
Masanga's music is upbeat, danceable, and family-oriented. The sight and sound of Masanga's giant marimbas is unlike anything you've ever seen or heard before!