Zim star popularises Shona music in US

HARARE - United States of America-based Zimbabwean singer and instrumentalist, Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, regards herself as an ambassador of Shona music.

Tanyaradzwa, who attracted international attention last year after coming second in the University of Kentucky-hosted Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition which featured 21 contestants from all over the world, relishes composing music inspired by her Shona heritage.

“I work both as a singer and as a composer. I write music that is inspired by our sacred Shona music, the stories and experiences of those in my family and community and my own life experiences,” Tanyaradzwa told the Daily News on Sunday.

The granddaughter of the late legendary businessman and politician, George Tawengwa, has earned several performing opportunities all over the world thanks to her sublime singing talent.

“Last year in February, I travelled to South Africa on tour as a soloist with the Princeton University Glee Club (my alma mater), a university choir of about 60 singers.

“There, we performed in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While in Cape Town we held a magical joint concert with the Cape Town Youth Choir,” Tanyaradzwa said.

The rising songstress is motivated by the desire to popularise Shona music.

“While in Cape Town we held a magical joint concert with the Cape Town Youth Choir. A few months later, the director of the choir, Leon Starker wrote and asked me to compose a piece for their upcoming US tour, with a concert in Carnegie Hall.

“I wrote a Shona choral piece, drawing inspiration from Mudzimu Dzoka, a powerful mbira invocation, prayed by my great-grandmother Pfute which has been passed down from generation-to-generation,” she said, adding that she is determined to put Zimbabwean music on the world map.

“Without my culture, my upbringing, my ancestors, my language and my country I would have nothing unique to lend to this world of classical music.

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