The mbira or thumb piano is a distinctly African musical instrument. It is an undeniable part of the African Culture and it’s roots are as deep as the sea. Mbira origins are very ancient and deeply rooted in the African tradition. It is a musical instrument worth celebrating, preserving and deserves recognition as part of the African heritage.
The Mbira Centre founded by Albert Chimedza took the initiative in September 2012 to set aside the month to celebrate mbira. Since then, Mbira Month has been an annual event.
There have been a lot of misconceptions on the instrument with some labelling the mbira as pagan hence the need to educate the locals and the rest of the world that mbira is just like any other musical instrument although some believe it has calming and healing qualities. Who knows? But one thing for sure is that Mbira Month provides a great opportunity to learn and discover the secrets the mbira holds.
The Mbira Month is jam-packed with events which include presentations, workshops and talks.
Tendayi Gahamadze, mbira player and founder of the popular mbira outfit Mbira DzeNharira says, “Individuals interested in mbira can get ample knowledge for free from experts on how to manufacture, tune, play and market mbira products on a global level. ”
The mbira guru goes onto say, “The grand finale is a 3 day extragavanza in the Nharira Mountains hosted by Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions Trust. This event is taking place from the 26th to the 28th of September where various mbira groups, makers and other artists will be showcasing their works.” His group Mbira DzeNharira will be among the 30 to grace the main stage with their mbira prowess. Other groups include Culture Vibes, Mazwi Mbira, Dzimbahwe Mbira and Hweva Mbira just to mention a few. The bands will play 36 hours non-stop while there will be exhibitions and workshop happening as well.
The extraganza, dubbed Mbira Sunsplash will be happening for the first time ever 23 km South West of Harare. The resource centre is situated along Bulawayo road between Snake World and the Lion Cheetah Park.
If there are jazz festivals, reggae sunsplashes and dancehall gigs, why not a mbira sunsplash? A happy mbira month everyone.