Traditional instruments give Zim artistes identity


WHILE the use of contemporary instruments like the keyboard, guitar and drums has proliferated, there are some artistes who have preferred to maintain the use of traditional instruments.

And Zimbabwe is among some of those nations that stand out for promoting and the use local traditional music instruments such mbira, (thump piano) ngoma (drums) and hosho (rattles), among others.

On the local showbiz scene, there are a number of emerging artistes and musical groups among them Afro-fusion group, Fusion 5 Mangwiro, Feli Nandi, Music According to Percussion and Gwevedzi Ensemble that are at home using traditional instruments in their music.

Gwevedzi Ensemble representative Tinashe William Musangadza said it was important for artistes to use local traditional instruments because they give them an identity which differentiates them from other musicians.

“In Zimbabwe we do have our own instruments, mbira and ngoma.

“The way these drums are created is unique and important to use as these instruments make us exceptional from what other people are doing globally,” he said.

“Musicians should not shun away from using their own traditional instruments and should incorporate them in any type of music because these play a pivotal role and give identity.”

Earlier this year, gospel diva Agatha Murudzwa shifted from contemporary to traditional gospel music and is now using mbira in all her songs.

“It is quite important to use our own traditional instruments because it increases the identity in your sound,” she said.

“Being a gospel artiste using traditional instruments shows that we are not only proud Zimbabweans in worship, but I am also christianising the instruments such as ngoma, hosho, magawi,” she added.

In their endeavour to promote traditional instruments, Fusion 5 Mangwiro representative Bryan Gwatidzo said they use drums, thump piano and marimba (wooden keyboard) because they define Zimbabweans.

“We can buy instrumentals online, yes, it is also good to try to be international, but it is also good to put those local instruments in international beats. I think it is always best to include our own local instruments because they define us,” he said.

“These instruments also make music to have that form of originality, which makes music sell to other countries because of the different sound that comes with these instruments.”

Another band, Music According to Percussion has also been promoting the use of traditional instruments.

Band leader Othnell Mangoma Moyo said: “As an instrumentalist on a global stage, I believe one needs to have an identity.

“These local instruments give us a voice internationally. We are having a great time bringing back these instruments that are usually just played in museums. This music is our heritage and has been brought down from generation to generation.”

Multi-award winning singer Jah Prayzah, Hope Masike and Mokoomba are also among other artistes who incorporate the use of traditional instruments such as hosho and mbira in their music.

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