Brisk business for mbira musicians

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Talent Muteura

BY TATENDA KUNAKA
SOME mbira musicians have said they have found a niche market, playing their music at private functions to appease spirits.

The new trend of appeasing spirits in a modish way is said to have brought with it brisk business for expressed appreciation. He said they were being hired for private ceremonies.

Mbira DzeVambire frontman Talent “Mukanya” Muteura told NewsDay Life & Style that many clients were seeking their services to play at private ceremonies and they were recording brisk business.

“For the past three years, we have managed to play at many private functions on almost every weekend, across the country’s provinces,” he said.

“This whole of April we were fully booked, for private functions. More people now seem to appreciate mbira and our culture unlike in previous years.”

Mbira music originated in the southern African region, in Mozambique specifically, and spread into Zimbabwe where it took root and it has been played exclusively together with hosho (a pair of gourds with seeds insides), for thousands of years. The music was mainly played at spiritual ceremonies to appease the spirits of departed relatives and ancestors. But over the years, mbira music has been modernised and fused with other instruments such as guitars and drums and now is mainly played for entertainment.

Formed in 2010, Mbira DzeVambire is an eight-member group that has composed several tracks and hopes to release an album soon.

“Due to pressure from our fans, this year we are planning to release our debut album,” he said.

The dreadlocked Muteura said his passion for music manifested after he finished high school. He said although he taught himself how to play the instrument, it was the legendary Garikai Tirikoti who helped him polish and hone his skills.

Muteura, who is the group’s lead singer and bass guitarist is also good with mbira, sees the future uptake of mbira music and the instrument increasing due to the promotion of indigenous instruments under the country’s new education curriculum.

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