Preserving Matepe music
in the 21st century

Currently in the making:

  • A comprehensive masterclass in playing matepe, consisting of 120+ video tutorials taught by master musician Chaka Chawasarira
  • A documentation of the 50+ hour process of building a matepe, starting from a block of wood and a pile of scrap metal

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Project Blog

  • Andrew Tracey’s transcriptions

    Andrew Tracey’s transcriptions

    Yesterday the memorial service for Andrew Tracey took place at Makhanda Cathedral (edited live stream here). In addition to the Christian liturgy, there were a number of wonderful musical and spoken contributions from friends and students around the world. While following the ceremony I was organising some videos of casual conversations that we had recorded…

  • Transatlantic Impulse Response

    Transatlantic Impulse Response

    2024 will see a series of concerts to make the Matepe, our preservation efforts and their support from the Federal Foreign Office visible to a wider audience in Zimbabwe and Germany. On the German side, Transatlantic Impulse Response will soon take the stage – a collaboration between our team member Othnell “Mangoma” Moyo and Fabiano…

  • Matepe master class at Music Crossroads Harare

    Matepe master class at Music Crossroads Harare

    Yesterday Sekuru, assisted by Mangoma, gave a 90-minute master class to students of the Music Crossroads Harare academy. Katrin Simon of the German Embassy had arranged this event with academy director Melody Zambuko already at our dinner in June. The class received a great response. When asked who wanted to continue with Matepe, about 15…

  • Transcendental Matepe sounds in Berlin Mitte

    Transcendental Matepe sounds in Berlin Mitte

    Saturday night, Robert Machiri was DJing Rega kuchema hurombo from Chaka Chawasarira’s album-in-the-making at ifa-Galerie, at the finissage of their installation A SACRED STORY AT THE TREE OF LIFE:

  • Playing the new matepe together with Sekuru`s old

    Playing the new matepe together with Sekuru`s old

    After all the processes, it time to hear how this new matepe, the work of a student sounded like when played together with Sekuru`s old and regulary tuned Matepe.

  • Matepe student product assessment

    Matepe student product assessment

    Time to hear what sekuru Chawasarira thinks about the Matepe I made using the knowledge I got from him.

  • Matepe student product testing

    Matepe student product testing

    Testing is done on every step of Matepe making but the sound is never true until the instrument is complete and taken through a series of vigorous playing and tuning. Kuda goes through a testing after finishing his Matepe.

  • Using fire to decorate Matepe

    Using fire to decorate Matepe

    So exited with the progress and the way this Matepe is looking, I couldn´t wait to get to the stage of derocating it. It is a cold, windy day and having not so dry wood, bringing the fire to life has become a challenge. I copy Sekuru´s chevron design using a flattened hot iron rod…

  • On Air in Germany

    On Air in Germany

    Joseph Weinberg is a South African mbira player and performing musician based in Berlin. He leads a group of Nyunga Nyunga students with his Zimbabwean friend Lineker Empunzi. Joe told me about an hour-long slot on a non-commercial radio show (Radio Kiosk, FM 88.4) where his group had been invited to play and talk about…

  • Bringing soft buzzing to Sekuru´s Deze

    Bringing soft buzzing to Sekuru´s Deze

    Recording live matepe music has always been a challenge. Capturing its sound outside a Deze comes out so clean but makes it sound so “mechanical”. Though recording it in a Deze could be the best, it comes with challenges. The buzzing from the bottle tops around the Deze always dominate swallowing the sound of the…

  • The drummer and the drum

    The drummer and the drum

    Othnell Mangoma Moyo Chiwayawaya drumming on Sekuru Chawasarira´s drum. This is the first time Mangoma plays this drum so loud. The comparison is between a Djembe and a Shona drum.

  • The Overdubbing Experience

    The Overdubbing Experience

    After playing Mudzimu woye, a sekuru Chawasarira´s own Nhare inspired song, he goes on to demonstrate how to drum and sing to this song. The drumming is different from Matepe drumming, it is more inclined to Nhare styles.