All-female mbira group to drop album

HARARE - Shai Shai, a band comprising songbirds Rumbidzai Tavaziwa, Prudence Katomeni Mbofana, Benita Tarupiwa and Joyce Warikandwa, will launch their debut album in April.

The all-female group is a result of a partnership between Semopa, a South African music company led by jazz legend Hugh “Bra Hugh” Masekela and Harare-based Ngomanehosho founded by Walter Wanyanya.

According to Wanyanya, the self-titled 12-track album was produced by Afro-fusion star Victor Kunonga.

“The album, which is steeped in mbira sound, is now at the mixing and mastering stage that is being done in Johannesburg by award-winning Nigerian guitarist and producer Kunle Ayo who is also the producer behind Hugh Masekela’s latest album No Borders,” said the Ngomanehosho boss.

He added that internationally-acclaimed Masekela featured on the album.

“Bra Hugh added to the mbira sound a very unique ingredient. The jazz legend was introduced to mbira music by the late Dumisani Maraire when both musicians were based in the United States of America.

“After Bra Hugh came to Zimbabwe in 2015 to pay his respects in Chimanimani at the Maraire homestead after the death of mbira legend Dumisani Maraire, we started working fully towards seeing a vision to have a group of ladies that sing and play traditional Zimbabwean music.

“The four ladies, who have been singing, performing and writing their own songs for many years, were brought together to create a unique mbira sound,” said Wanyanya.

The all-female group has performed at several events in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Their biggest show was in 2015 at the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg where they were backed by music legends Masekela and music Oliver Mtukudzi.

Apart from Tuku and Bra Hugh, the all-female group also featured Norman Masamba (lead guitar), Victor Kunonga (guitar) and Sam Mataure (drums) in their line-up for the concert held at Sandton Convention Centre.

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