Our last event of 2020!
Join us in sending off 2020 and setting good vibes for 2021!
Batuki Music Society gratefully acknowledges the support of Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage.
Her Majesty The Queen of Mbira music from Zimbabwe as Stella Rambisai Chiweshe is affectionately called, is the first female artist who gained in prestige and has been honoured with recognition in a tradition that’s been dominated by men: Mbira music. Mbira music is known as the backbone of Zimbabwean music. The mbira consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard and is usually placed inside a gourd resonator (deze). The keys are played with the two thumbs plucking down and the right forefinger plucking up.
She is one of the few musicians in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, who since more than 40 years is working in the role of traditional Mbira musician. She is a well respected and important woman in the music business too, where bands perform at festivals, in theatres, churches, schools, community halls as well as in families homes for their ancestors. She set an example for the rest of the women musicians in Zimbabwe. She is a professional artist, in the entertainment industry and the international music circuit. In Zimbabwe, she released more than 20 singles of Mbira music of which her first single Kasahwa went gold in 1975.
After Zimbabwe’s independence, she was invited to become a member of the original National Dance Company of Zimbabwe, where she soon took the part of a leading Mbira Solo player, dancer, and actress. Her solo work has established her as one of the most original artists in the contemporary African scene using mbira music to show the depth and power of her traditional spiritual music at home and abroad.
Chiweshe’s experience has been stimulating her to introduce Mbira music to the occidental context without losing the relation to her Zimbabwean tradition. Since then she has won several awards in her country. In 2003 the University of Zimbabwe honoured her with the Master’s Degree in Arts.
Stella Chiweshe started to perform solo in ceremonies around Zimbabwe in the early 1970s. She is probably Zimbabwe’s internationally most prolific performer, being a prominent star in the 1.0 days of « World Music » in the 1980s and early 1990s. Stella is still a breathtakingly powerful and highly spiritual performer. Her traditional Mbira music is a medium to establish contact with the spirits of the deceased ancestors and thus also able to bring about community among the listeners.
In September 2018, Glitterbeat released Stella Chiweshe’s long-expected new album « Kasahwa », a collection of her early African singles.
Support Stella’s Chivanu Centre Project
“The Queen of Mbira“ Stella Chiweshe has spread the soothing, introspective sound of the magical mbira instrument around the world. At home in Zimbabwe, it has long held deep significance to the Shona people, in ceremonies and healing rituals, but now faces a growing generational divide.
Stella’s dream is to establish a place of learning and cultural exchange dedicated to mbira music in her father’s land in the region of Bindura, 70km from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
Have a look at the Chivanhu Centre project yourself and support Stella’s campaign which is still running till the 22nd of December: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-chivanhu-project#/