Posthumous honour for Chiwoniso

HARARE - Late mbira star Chiwoniso Maraire will be the first artiste to be inducted into the Book Café Hall of Fame tonight.

Chiwoniso’s posthumous honour, which comes exactly a year after her death at the age of 37, has been made possible by the Book Café and Pamberi Trust. To celebrate the occasion and mark the first anniversary of the mbira star’s death, the Book Café will host a “Tribute to Chiwoniso Maraire Concert” tonight.

The high profile concert, which is being organised in conjunction with Chiwoniso’s former band, the Vibe Culture, will feature top artistes who include Victor Kunonga, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and mbira star Nyamasvisva, the frontman of Mawungira eNharira.

The tribute concert’s packed line-up also includes artistes Eve Kawadza, Bengt Post, Norman Masamba, Freedom Manatsa, Dennis Mushaishi, Rumbi Tavaziva, Tomas Brickhill, Mike Hellz, Verity Norman, Ba Shupi, Comrade Fatso, Discord and Pauline of Mafriq and several others.

Given Chiwoniso’s involvement in many collaborations, it is not surprising that several musicians have offered to take part in tonight’s tribute concert.

She collaborated with musicians all over the world such as Japanese star Sakaki Mango, German artiste Max Wilde and  the Suki Africa ensemble that included Peter Solo (Togo), Erik Aliana and Chouchou Bass (Cameroon), Chang Jae-Hyo (Korea), and Sakaki Mango  and N’dana (Japan).

Locally, she collaborated with her late husband Andy Brown and stepdaughter Amarra Brown, Jah Prayzah, Chikwata 263, Suluman Chimbetu, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and many others.

Tonight’s tribute concert will be preceded by a discussion on “Chiwoniso’s impact in the lives of the people around her, Her music and spirituality.” The panellists will include music writer Fred Zindi, Tsungi Zvobgo, an arts manager who worked extensively with Chiwoniso, and poet Chirikure Chirikure who collaborated with the late late mbira star.

The discussion will be chaired by musicologist Extra-Blessings Kuchera.

Zindi, a veteran musician and educationist, holds the late mbira star in high regard.

“Chiwoniso Maraire was phenomenal. She was an ambassador of Zimbabwean cultural heritage whom we still enjoy to date. She lives on in all of us,” said Zindi, a University of Zimbabwe professor.

Chirikure, who will feature in tonight’s tribute discussion on Chiwoniso, concurs.

“The name Chiwoniso in Shona means a light; a torch which enables us to see in the dark. Her art, her legacy is exactly that — a bright light that will never fade,” said the renowned poet.

Fashion designer Alice Knuth, a close friend of the late Chiwoniso, will always remember the late mbira star’s humility.

“I knew Chi the musician but knew Chi the person better. Chi was a humble soul; she loved nothing else but music. I guess that is what makes her extra special. She played and sang and danced because the music and dance and song came from within, even when the rest of us couldn’t hear it,” she said.

Rumbi Tavaziva, who is now the leader of Chiwoniso’s backing band, the Vibe Culture, attributes her success as a musician to the legendary mbira icon.

“I worked with Chi for almost 10 years. Noone can ever replace her or fill the shoes she was in because she was very powerful as an artiste, as a friend, as a sister and as mother. I will forever cherish what she taught me and the memories we had,” said Rumbi.

For Chikwata 263’s Thomas Brickhill, Chiwoniso was Zimbabwe’s rock star.

“I was standing with Chi in the midst of the crowd as Baba Maal played on the main stage at Hifa, and within a minute or two he spotted her amongst the crowd, put his set on pause to invite her onto the stage for an impromptu collaboration. She rocked it, just like she always did. Chi was a rock star and it is a great honour to have played on stage with her; even more so to have had her as a friend,” said Brickhill.

Tonight’s Book Café Hall of Fame Induction is an addition to a long line of honours that have come Chiwoniso’s way.

“In addition to being honoured by Radio France (Decouverte Afrique) for her debut album, Ancient Voices, Chiwoniso was also nominated for the 1999 Kora All-Africa Music Awards in the Best Female Vocalist Category.

The late Chiwoniso’s discography includes, Ancient Voices, Timeless, Hupenyu Kumusha/ Life at Home/ Impilo Ekhaya, The Collaboration: Volume 1 and Rebel Woman.

Comments (2)

Chiwoniso will always be missed. Thanks to you all guys who will be paying tribute to her tonight. Chiwoniso means mirror, not light, because I her late parents saw her as a mirror of life. She is,indeed, a mirror which helped our society to reflect about itself and the rest of the world.

Chenjerai Hove - 24 July 2014

The great mirror will always be remembered.

Driden Kunaka - 25 July 2014

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