Shona music is the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. There are several different types of traditional Shona music including mbira, singing, hosho and drumming. Very often, this music will be accompanied by dancing, and participation by the audience. In Shona music, there is little distinction between the performer and the audience, both are often actively involved in the music-making, and both are important in the religious ceremonies where Shona Music is often heard.
Shona music is well known as representative of mbira ("thumb piano") 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 improvisationally. 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. (Garfias 1971)
Drums are always associated with dance and can be used for various dances.
- Shauro- used for the lead rhythm
- Tsinhiro- used for the response rhythm
- Mhito- used for the lead rhythm
- Mitumba miviri- used for the response rhythm
(these are two headed)
- Chimudumbana- small, for lead rhythm
- Chigubha- big, for response rhythm
Shona music is often accompanied by the hosho, a hollowed-out maranka gourd containing hota seeds or other objects that is shaken to generate a sound.
Traditional Shona music has been adapted to modern instruments such as electric guitars and western drumsets, for example by musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo, Stella Chiweshe, and Oliver Mtukudzi. This music is also associated with the Chimurenga movement.
Shona music in the West
Shona music has become popular in the West and even in the East such as Japan. In the United States, Shona music has become popular in Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest and in some places of Argentina, largely due to the seeding influence of musicians such as Dumisani Maraire, Ephat Mujuru, and Erica Azim.
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Shona music on Marimba
Shona marimbas are diatonic and are made with F#'s and without. They are different from other marimbas through their larger keys and resonators beneath the keys (to produce a buzzing sound). Often traditional mbira songs are translated to the marimba.
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- Chartwell Dutiro
- Chiwoniso Maraire
- Chris Berry
- Cosmas Magaya
- Dumisani Maraire
- Ephat Mujuru
- Erica Azim
- Forward Kwenda
- Fabio Chivhanda
- Herbert Schwamborn
- James Chimombe
- Oliver Mtukudzi
- Stella Chiweshe
- Thomas Mapfumo
- Marimba (Zimbabwean)
- Music of Africa
- Music of Zimbabwe
- Shona language
- Shona people
- Bantu language
- Nonesuch Explorer Series 79703-2, Zimbabwe: The African Mbira: Music of the Shona People (2002). Liner notes by Robert Garfias (1971).
- Nonesuch Explorer Series 79704 Zimbabwe: The Soul of Mbira: Traditions of the Shona People (1973). Produced by Paul Berliner
- Musical instruments 2: (LP) Reeds (Mbira). (1972) The Music of Africa series. 1 LP disc. 331⁄3 rpm. mono. 12 in. Recorded by Hugh Tracey. Kaleidophone, KMA 2.
- Mbira Music of Rhodesia, Performed by Abram Dumisani Maraire. (1972). Seattle: University of Washington Press, Ethnic Music Series. Garfias, R. (Ed.). 1 LP disc. 331⁄3 rpm. mono. 12 in. UWP-1001. This disc features Maraire exclusively on Nyunga Nyunga mbira. A 12-page booklet by Maraire is included, describing the background, composition, and performance of nyunga-nyunga mbira music.
- Berliner, Paul (1981). The Soul of Mbira: Music and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04268-9.
- Tracey, Andrew. (1970). How to play the mbira (dza vadzimu). Roodepoort, Transvaal, South Africa: International Library of African Music.
- Tracey, Hugh. (1961). The evolution of African music and its function in the present day. Johannesburg: Institute for the Study of Man in Africa.
- Tracey, Hugh. (1969). The Mbira class of African Instruments in Rhodesia (1932). African Music Society Journal, 4:3, 78-95.
- Zimbabwe Music Vibes Promoting Urban Culture
- ZimFest Annual Zimbabwean Music Festival in North America
- Zambuko Solomon Murungu's Shona Music Site
- Mbira.org Erica Azim's site, based in Berkeley, CA
- Dandemutande Shona Music site and mailing list