Performed for spiritual ceremonies, for celebrations, at royal courts, for home entertainment and musical mediation, this ancient timeless music of some of the Shona people of Zimbabwe has been played on the mbira for at least 1000 years, and probably longer. Usually two or more mbira musicians play interlocking parts with the hosho (shakers) player providing the beat. Many inner melodies become apparent with careful listening. Often folks join in by singing, clapping and dancing.
In recent years, as people have fallen under its spell, this beautiful sweet music has spread to other cultures in far distant lands such as England, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and throughout North America. Each year more people study the mbira and its music. Some travel to Zimbabwe to find teachers; others study with Zimbabwean teachers who come to their country; some study with local proficient players. Since the 1970s, this traditional music has been arranged and performed by various electric pop bands as well as by marimba ensembles around the globe.
SONG LIST INFORMATION
MASANGANO (6:20) --- When people come together
ZVESHANJE (8:04) -- A song originally from the njari, this song warns of the destructive power of jealousy. The singing (Tati hatidi zveshanje) translates as "we don't want jealousy here." The second line (Torai mapdza muchirima "Pick up your hoes and get to work") is a call to work together.
PASIMUPINDU (7:58) --A composition by Tute Chigamba, "Pasimupindu" means "the world is changing."
NYATWA (5:36)-- A composition by Tute Chigamba, Nyatwa has two meanings. "Nyatwa" is a kind of deer. It also can mean "trouble" or "danger." The call "Dzai nenepapa. Dzai nenekoko" translates as "here they com, there they go."
CHAKWI (4:36) -- a marshy area
TAIREVA GORE KORE (7:28) -- "The Taireva from long back." "Taireva" translates as "we used to say."
NDOMUTENDA MAMBO (6:03) -- "I thank the king."
DANGU RANGU (4:17) -- A song often played when someone was made chief or king by ancestral spirits. "Dangu Rangu" also translates as "my first born."
BUKATIENDE (6:37) -- "Wake up, let's go." Often played at sunrise at ceremonies.
About NJUZU MBIRA:
Nathan Beck and Marian Grebanier, from Portland, Oregon, formed NJUZU MBIRA in 1998 after having studied mbira dza vadzimu (mbira of the ancestor spirits) for a number of years. Both have spent extended time in Zimbabwe. In 2001 they were joined by hosho player Mark Burdon, a percussionist who graduated from Berklee School of Music. More recently, singers Melanie Lyon and Karin Tauscher have joined in performing with NJUZU MBIRA. Teachers with whom Nathan and Marian have studied have included Tute, Garadziva and Irene Chigamba, Cosmas Magaya, Fradreck Mujuru, Musekiwa Chingodza and Erica Azim among a number of others.
You can contact NJUZU MBIRA at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For further information about mbira and a catalog of excellent field records of masterful Zimbabwean musicians, check out www.mbira.org