HomeNewsBook Café celebrates female mbira players

Book Café celebrates female mbira players


The Book Café will tonight collaborate with Mbiravolution in hosting an “artistic voices” discussion where the main theme at the event will be “Celebrating Female Mbira Players”.

Report by Garikai Tunhira Own Correspondent
Mbiravolution is an initiative to bring together a community of mbira players, researchers, makers, academics and lovers to discuss, share and engage each other for the development of the mbira instrument and music.

Pamberi Trust communications projects officer Blessings Kuchera said the event would look at the emergence and contribution of female mbira players in developing music in Zimbabwe and abroad.

He said: “The discussion will highlight the significance of the mbira instrument and music in Zimbabwe and beyond. It will mainly focus on the emergence of female mbira players and their immense contribution to the development of the mbira instrument and music, the music industry and the Zimbabwean community.”

The main questions to be addressed during the discussion will be: Who are the players? What significant contribution has been made? How are other female mbira players being encouraged? What does the future hold for female mbira players?

Legendary mbira songbird and icon Chiwoniso Maraire will be one of the main speakers at the discussion, along with Theresa Muteta, a young female mbira player who is also a music educator and researcher.

The other speaker will be Hector Mugani, an ethnomusicologist, and Chikwata 263 mbira player, while many others are lined up as well.

Female mbira players like Hope Masike and Onai Mtizva will not be present at the event, but  will send their presentations on their experiences as female mbira players.

Masike is currently on a world tour, while Mtizva is in Namibia.

“Many people have misconceptions about the emergence of female mbira players and, therefore, their importance is diminished. One thing for sure is that women were denied the opportunity to play the mbira even if they had a passion for it,” said Kuchera.

“This also applies to other traditional instruments which were mainly male domains. Many women now play the mbira on local, regional and international platforms where they showcase their works.”

Names such as Stella Chiweshe, Beular Dyoko, Patience Chaitezvi, Maraire and Masike, among others, have made significant strides with the mbira instrument. The discussion comes when many Zimbabweans are celebrating September as the mbira month, an initiative by the Mbira Centre to celebrate and raise appreciation of the mbira.

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