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Sample Track 1:
"Ndabaiwa" from Talking Mbira (Piranha)
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Talking Mbira (Piranha)
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Layer 2
CD Review

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NAPRA Review, CD Review >>

TALKING MBIRA: Spirits of Liberation by Stella Chiweshe.
Piranha Musik, dist. by Harmonia Mundi, 310/478-1311,

With this release, Chiweshe brings the spirit of modern Zimbabwe to the world's ear. Recorded in sessions from 1988-2001, songstress Chiweshe fills our hearts with the grounded, healing tones and echoing reverberations of the mbira, or thumb piano. For the purist, this is not a CD of solo mbira. With an orchestration of percussion -- such as marimbas, hosho (rattles), and chidzimba (African drums) -- and ebullient choruses, this release conveys the spirit of mbira, a healing force as much as an actual instrument (described by Chiweshe in her liner notes). Synthesizer, drums, and bass guitar round out the mix on ten tracks that run the gamut from quiet and contemplative to rocking and upbeat. Arrangements replete with richly layered vocals, engaging yodels, and call-and-response singing in the Shona language accompany Chiweshe's mbira playing and her compelling, earthy voice in delivering this message of peace and solidarity.


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