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Vambe features at cultural festival

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Zimbabwean drummer Douglas Vambe, well-known for his jerusarema/mbende drum-playing skills, is billed to perform at the Jerusarema/Mbende Festival on October 28 at Murewa Culture Centre.

He will be supported by Chibuku Road to Fame finalists Club Shanga and other groups from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Jerusarema/Mbende Festival runs concurrently with the Murewa-Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe Cultural Festival (MUCUF).

The Marondera-based drummer, who is also the man behind the drumbeat adopted as the news bulletin signature tune by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, is expected to thrill the audience with his drum-playing skills which are ever-improving with his age.

Festival coordinator Cuthbert Maziwa confirmed Vambe’s presence at the festival.
“Vambe will be performing at the festival since he is the most celebrated jerusarema/mbende drummer in the country and there is no way he is going to miss the event,” said Maziwa.

“His presence at the occasion is of great importance. He will be supported by Club Shanga whose Afro-shangara music will spice up the event.

“We are expecting other cultural groups from Zambia and Botswana to entertain people,” he said.

In an interview with NewsDay, Vambe said he was ready to participate in the festival.

“It’s my pleasure to play at the Jerusarema/Mbende Festival and I am ready to perform,” said Vambe.

Vambe has been called to perform in many cultural festivals in and out of Zimbabwe. The aging drummer, who hails from Uzumba, now has a chance to perform in front of his home fans.
Born on August 2 1942 in Magunje village, Uzumba, Vambe fell in love with the traditional drum at the tender age of four.

A first-born child in a family of six, he attended school at Chitimbe, Nyamasha and Rukunguhwe schools up to Standard 3 and dropped out since his parents could no longer afford to pay fees.
In 1958, Vambe came to Harare (then Salisbury) in search of employment and stayed in Mbare (then Harare) with his brother.

While in Mbare, he formed a dance outfit called Murehwa-Uzumba Number One Jerusarema.
In 2002, while performing at the official opening of Nhowe Mission Hospital in Macheke, he was spotted by American Embassy staff who facilitated a trip for him to hold workshops and perform at several universities in the US.

In September 2008 he went to the United Kingdom after being invited to perform at the Birmingham International Arts Festival.

Last year, he represented Zimbabwe with distinction during the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals in South Africa where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of renowned R&B artist R Kelly and Colombian sensation Shakira.

Currently he is imparting traditional dance skills to young artists.

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