HomeLife & StyleVambe to lead Jerusalem/Mbende Festival

Vambe to lead Jerusalem/Mbende Festival


Veteran drummer Douglas Vambe, well-known for his jerusarema/mbende drum-playing skills, is billed to perform at the annual Murehwa Jerusarema/Mbende Festival on August 3 at Murehwa Culture Centre.

The event will also pit Goromonzi-based and Chibuku Road to Fame finalists Ngoma Dzepasi, Rarira Dendera Shanga and other groups from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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

Festival co-ordinator Cuthbert Maziwa said Vambes participation at the festival would be a great honour.

Vambe will be performing at the festival since he is the most celebrated jerusarema/mbende drummer in the country and naturally it is anyones wish to see him perform at such an event, said Maziwa.

We are expecting other cultural groups from Zambia and primary schools around here are also participating in this festival.

Vambe this week told NewsDay he was raring to go.

Its my pleasure to play at the festival. I have always wanted to impart something to younger generations and having a chance as this is a dream come true, said Vambe.

Vambe has performed in many cultural festivals in and out of Zimbabwe, but the aging drummer has rarely performed for 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.

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

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.

Mbende/jerusarema dance is a popular dance style practiced by the Zezuru Shona people living in the Murehwa and Uzumba, Maramba and Pfungwe districts in eastern Zimbabwe.

The dance is characterised by sensual and acrobatic movements by women in unison with men, driven by a single polyrhythmic drummer accompanied by men playing woodblock clappers and by women handclapping, yelling and blowing whistles.

Unlike other drum-based East African dance styles, the mbende/jerusarema does not rely on intricate foot stamping or many drummers. Instead, the music is performed by one master drummer, and no songs or lyrics are involved.

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