World Music: Music of Zimbabwe

Topics: Shona music, Zimbabwe, Music of Zimbabwe Pages: 4 (1250 words) Published: August 3, 2011
When British rule came into today's Zimbabwe (former Rhodesia) in the late 19th century, they found “peaceful people living in various sized city-states.” The people inhabiting this area, known as the Shona tribe, had seen little of European people up to this point, and were easily convinced of Britain's trickery to move in and take control of their land. Up to this point, the Shona tribe and their religion was based on ancestor spirit possession using music mostly from the hand-held mbira. British rule highly disapproved of this, and in turn left many Zimbabweans alienated form their ancient culture.[1]

There are several different types of traditional Shona musics, including mbira, singing, and drumming. Very often, this music is accompanied by dancing and participation by the audience.[2] In Shona music, there is little distinction between the performer and the audience; both are actively involved in the music making, and both are important in the religious ceremonies where Shona Music is often heard.[3] In mbira music, “the performer of the kushaura (lead mbira part) often acts also as the lead vocalist, selecting a known melody or mbira pattern to accompany selected lyrics, usually a phrase or a few lines of text which are then commented upon via improvisation. The performer of the kutsinira (second mbira part) plays a pattern which interlocks with the kushaura in a way that creates the repeated notes which identify mbira music. The kutsinira part is often the same part as the kushaura, but played a half a beat later. The mbira players are accompanied by another less active singer who plays the hosho (a rattle) and responds to the improvised lyrics of the singer, and most importantly embellishes and complements the lead vocal melody.”[4]
Traditional Shona music has been adapted to modern instruments such as electric guitars and western drumsets by musicians such as...

Cited: • "Mondomix MP3 .: Artiste : Oliver Mtukudzi :." Mondomix MP3. 1998. .
• "Thomas Mapfumo: Afropop Artist -- Zimbabwe, Southern Africa." African Music, African Music Albums, African Musicians, African Bands, Reviews, Labels, Discographies, and more, from Afropop Worldwide, the experts on African music. 2001. .
• "Zimbabwe: Nat Geo Music." Home: Nat Geo Music. 1996. .
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