Pennywhistle sounds from Kwela Calabash

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Bulawayo’s Kwela Calabash, composed of veteran jazz musicians, is determined to ensure that kwela music does not die.

Kwela Calabash lead singer and instrumentalist Thompson Banda told NewsDay recently that he learnt kwela music while living in South Africa. Banda said he was taught how to play the pennywhistle by his late father.

“By 1957, I had turned professional,” he said.
“We used to play at what were known as ‘tea parties’ at the time.”

He said the trend continued when he eventually came back home and stayed in Filabusi.

The other three members of Kwela Calabash are in their fifties and they are Method Khumalo (second pennywhistle), Japhet Tshuma (bass guitar) and drummer Funny Soko.

In line with their dream of ensuring that kwela music continues to thrive even after they retire, they have enlisted the services of a young musician, Stanley Mathe, who plays the acoustic box guitar.