Kudos, The Mbira Queen of Zimbabwe >>
Her Majesty, the Queen of Mbira Music from Zimbabwe Stella Rambisai Chiweshe
Is often called -is the first Mbira player to gain prestige in Mbira music, the backbone of Zimbabwean music, which has been dominated by men.
Stella Chiweshe and the Trio will perform Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. at Future Studios, 30 Hozoni Dr. Sedona. Doors open 7:30 p.m.
Advance adult tickets are $12 or$15 day of show with reduced prices for youth 17 and younger.
Chiweshe, whose CD, Talking Mbira, was released by Piranha (distributed by Harmonia Mundi USA), is one of the few musicians in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, who has been a traditional Mbira player for more than 35 years. When Zimbabwe was still a Rhodesian colony, Stella was secretly was recognized as a Mbira player at forbidden ceremonies. Before independence Mbira instruments had to be kept hidden, because the colonial government had banned the instrument fearing its magical powers. Playing Mbira was punished with prison. After playing through the night at forbidden reunions, Stella would return to her every day struggle of survival as a young girl within a colonial environment.
Chiweshe is nicknamed “Ambuya Chinyakare” (Grandmother of Traditional Music). She is a well-respected and important woman in the music business too, where the bands perform in night clubs and festivals. She set an example for all women musicians in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe before independence she released more than 20 singles of Mbira music of which her first single Kasahwa went gold in 1975.
After Independence she was invited to become a member of the original National Dance Company of Zimbabwe, where she soon took the part as leading Mbira solo player, dancer and actress.
She is one of the most original artist in the contemporary African scene using popular music to show the deepness and power of her traditional spiritual music at home and abroad. Stella introduces Mbira music to the occidental context without losing the relation to her Zimbabwean tradition: She creates warm dance grooves as well as popular songs always based on Mbira rhythms.
The fusion of Setlla’s music and contemporary guitars has not only made her an international figure, but also as Zimbabwe’s cultural Ambassador. Apart from her merit combining Mbira with Marimba in modern Zimbabwean music, she has toured Europe regurlarly since 1983 and has released seven internationally successful albums. Kumusha won her a 1993 Billboard Music Award for performance on the Adult/ Alternative/ World Music Album on the year.