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Number 284

Stella Chiweshe - Ambuya (GlobeStyle ORB029)

Traditionally, is was only men who were encouraged to become mbira musicians, yet Zimbabwe's Stella Chiweshe went against the grain to become a world known exponent of the instrument, which can be described as a small wooden board with attached staggered metal prongs that are plucked with the thumbs and takes many shapes and forms, each creating a very distinctive sound. By the mid-1980s, African music had made a big splash on the world stage with artists such as Stella bursting onto the international conscience, although she actually took up this instrument a good twenty years earlier in Harare, taking lessons from her uncle. She described the experience as being like when a close person dies, a burning in the chest, which was eased when her uncle invited her to 'come play'. AMBUYA? sees Stella team up with her band The Earthquake featuring Virginia Mkwesha on mbira and hosho, Leonard Ngwena on soprano marimba and Samson Mirazi on baritone marimba, with the guest rhythm section from 3 Mustaphas 3.