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The mbira is a melodic instrument featuring plucked metal strips on a wooden soundboard, set in a gourd resonator.
The Irene Chigamba interview and performance were recorded last year with the help of the East Village world music shop Tribal Soundz. Tribal Soundz is bringing two other mbira players to New York in October 2002: Cosmas Magaya & Beuler Dyoko. They will perform at the New York Open Center, 83 Spring St in Manhattan on Saturday evening Oct 5; and they will lead daytime workshops at Tribal Soundz, 340 E6 St on Sunday Oct 6. Visit http://www.tribalsoundz.com for details. Tribal Soundz also stocks mbiras and mbira-related cds. Magaya was featured on the seminal 1977 Nonesuch Explorer recording "Shona Mbira Music" which has just been re-released (click here for a review by Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide) .
For information about the Mhembero Mbira Ensemble CD Pasi Mupindu ("The world is changing") visit http://www.shumba.ch/cds/cd's_en.html
From Irene's bio:
Communicating with spirits is a central element of the life of Shona people of Zimbabwe. Communicating with the spirits is the main use of the mbira instrument. Irene started learning to play mbira, sing and dance at age 8 from her mother and father. Soon thereafter, she learned from a spirit medium that she would be required to be a mukaranga, a caretaker of the spirits in the material world.
As the oldest of the Chigamba children, creative responsibility and authoritative decision making seem to come naturally to Irene. After performing with mbira legend Ephat Mujuru, Irene was invited to join the National Dance Company, a government group that frequently showcased Zimbabwean musical culture abroad. Today Irene is lead singer as well as mbira player in the Mhembero Ensemble, a family group led by her father Tute Chigamba. Mhembero means "celebration" in the Shona language.
For more about the culture
of the Shona, mbira and the global community of mbira players
visit the mbira music web portal http://www.dandemutande.com.