Stitches, a mbira ensemble consisting of four young people with disabilities and currently studying at St Giles, recently launched a self-titled eight-track album that dares anyone to claim that disability is inability.
The songs on the album include Makudo, Marara, Maiwe, I Wonder Why, Back Stitch, Chitima Kwe-e, Shungu Dzangu and Hangaiwa which touch on different social themes including disability, current affairs and traditional folklore.
The four pupils who took part in the production of the album are Laura Muzambi (11), Trish Nhatarikwa (12), Terrence Nazare (13) and Sean Semu (13).
They honed their mbira playing skills through the St Giles Special School’s cultural, arts and recreation initiative and composed mbira patterns for half of the songs on the album and influenced the penning of most of the lyrics.
They also took part in a number of competitions, exchange programmes, concerts and festivals before engaging in the album production.
“The album really shows that people with disabilities have a lot to contribute to our society. In this case, it is even more poignant because the album was done by children,” said Ticha Muzavazi, who specialises in teaching the children how to play mbira and also helped to compose the songs on the album.
Muzavazi says the group works with very limited resources but with greater support the children could go to greater heights.
“The unfortunate thing is that these children’s classrooms have very limited resources such as Braille machines and we are appealing for more support to help these children reach their full potential both educationally and musically. We need donations of things that are appropriate to children with disabilities,” he said.
The youngsters have participated in arts festivals like Hifa, Bafa, Youth Against Aids, Young Africa, Vana Venyu and the Global Campaign against Poverty and earned themselves appreciation from local and foreign art followers.