Mbira dzeNharira get better with age

Mbira dzeNharira get better with age

Sharon Ngomani

AN exceptional performance by the renowned Mbira dzeNharira last Christmas at a traditional ceremony in Msengezi, kwaWaze, has inspired the Norton-based ensemble’s new album title.

“Bvungurungwi kwaWaze (Road Block)” was recorded at Digital Zone studios in Harare. The seven-track album offers a reinvigorated traditional sound with catchy choruses and flowing lyrics.

“We are diversifying our rhythms further from the ancient tunes to create new vibes so as to contribute to the growth of mbira music. We also need to keep up with today’s audience,” said group leader Tendai ‘Samaita’ Gahamadze.

The album is generally based on social commentary; either warning people of bad habits or asking for a higher power’s intervention in today’s problems.

The song “Karomo” warns trouble makers to be careful of inviting permanent damage to their lives, while “Bhurugwa Rembwa” shames those who shun their traditions and culture.

“Zamu Rambuya” and “Ndimi Makabara” are tracks that plead with the autochthons of society and higher powers to give relief to today’s problems. “Kambiri” is a celebratory lighter tune praising people for skills they are known for. “Mavirima” advises people against bad habits as the effects may be long lasting while “Rudo” talks about going to places looking for love.

Recently, the five-member crew thrilled a sizeable crowd at their usual hunting ground, Harare’s Gijima Sports Bar, when they unveiled the album.

They opened with the famous emotional and spiritual song “Tozvireva Tingaputike Neshungu”, which had many encores as people remained unquenched with many weeping while others prayed as the song was performed.

The playlist also included popular tunes such as “Dzikana Dzvuku” and “Nherera Zvichengete”. The Mbira outfit also took time to sample all of the songs on the new album much to the delight of their followers.

The sing-alongs were well-received and the audience took to the dance floor to show off their fancy footwork. Songs on the new album proved to be promising favourites.

Band member Chaka ‘Mukanya’ Chakandika added some comic theatrics to the set while Tendai ‘Moyo’ Kazuru entertained the crowd with his enviable dancing and hosho playing skills.

Samaita, who is 59-years-old, showed no signs of slowing down, his voice calming the night with its maturity and unadulterated texture, tugging on the heart strings of many.

His dongonda mbira was leading – as always

From the back Clemence ‘Tembo’ Rice’s nhovapasi mbira packed bass while Takawira ‘Gushungo’ Devera carried rhythm with his nheketo mbira.

The popular mbira outfit played continuously for more than five hours – with short snuff breaks in between – but the crowd still demanded more.

“Bvungurungwi kwaWaze” is Mbira dzeNharira’s 11th studio album with their last offering coming back in 2012.

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