Masike lauds Mapfumo, Chiweshe, Maraire

HARARE - Mbira player and songstress, Hope Masike has paid tribute to Chimurenga King Thomas Mapfumo and mbira queens, Stella Chiweshe and Chiwoniso Maraire for elevating the mbira music instrument.

Masike, who is in Norway launching a new album entitled The Village that she co-produced with Monoswezi, heaped praise on the trio during an interview with CNN.

The mbira queen who has been part of Monoswezi which is a collective of musicians originally from Mozambique, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe for the past three years, said mbira has become trendy partly due to the efforts of the trio.

“You will be amazed, now it is becoming fashionable you will find young women playing mbira”, said Masike.
“It is different from the time I started. But we have really had to create a lot of awareness to our people (on mbira).

“Mbira went through a lot; through the history of Zimbabwe and it’s been stigmatised against. It has been looked at as a pagan instrument and many people even today do not want to see mbira, as they think what you are doing is demonic.

“Slowly people are starting to appreciate it a lot more and of course we must give credit to the people who played it, people like Thomas Mapfumo, Ambuya Stella Chiweshe and Chiwoniso Maraire who made it popular,” she said.

Monoswezi is composed of Hope Masike (voice, mbira, percussion), Calu Tsemane (voice, percussion), Hallvard Godal (saxophone, clarinet), Putte Johander (bass), Erik Nylander (drums og percussion), Nqobile Khoza (voice, percussion, mbira, marimba) and Xavier Samito Tembe (voice, percussion).

The group’s website describes them as, “a collective of musicians originally from Mozambique, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe with a common passion for traditional African music in general, and music from Zimbabwe and Mozambique in particular.’

The group was formed in 2008 before releasing the self-titled album Monoswezi in 2010.

The Village, which is a sequel to Monoswezi which was recorded three years ago, was launched during the group’s current tour of Norway which began on January 19.

The album is already on sale in the Nordic country.

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