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Mbira goes to Broadway


NEW York Broadway will for the first time experience the soothing Zimbabwean instrument, mbira, as Cirque Mother Africa performs at the venue for the next seven weeks.

Entertainment Reporter

The circus which consists of African artists from different countries including South Africa, Gabon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe under the directorate of Winston Ruddowe will be giving the United States a feel of African music and mbira at the centre of other performances.

The local instrument is going under the custody of Theresa Muteta who will be playing the late Chiwoniso Maraire’s song Matsotsi.

In an interview with NewsDay, Muteta said she is proud to be sharing local music with different cultures.

“I am very excited to perform at Broadway. It is a big platform; something I used to see only on television and read of in the media, but now I am going to have my first experience,” she said.

“It is also an honour to be taking mbira there for the first time and playing a song by such a great woman who has contributed so much to local music and it as a double thriller that I will be playing in the country of her birth.”

Muteta said the music has been receiving great feedback in several countries she has toured with the circus.

Cirque Mother Africa has extensively toured various countries including Manila, Turkey, German, Austria, Singapore and Turkey during the seven years of its existence.

It has three local artistes namely Nomathamsanga Mukwananzi, Silethemba Magonya, who are both vocalists and Muteta who is a dancer, vocalist and instrumentalist.

“I have learnt a lot through interaction with various cultures from both our continent and across the world, but one of my valuable lessons is to appreciate my own culture and heritage. Touring other countries has helped me become more patriotic and appreciative of things we often overlook,” said Muteta.

After the performance at Broadway the circus will make another stop at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Tennessee for the Festival of Nations.

Mbira’s history to the US has been linked with the legendary Dumi Maraire, father of the late Chiwoniso and the self-exiled Thomas Mapfumo, but none of them has had a Broadway experience.

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