Preserving Matepe music
in the 21st century

This site hosts

  • a comprehensive masterclass in playing matepe, consisting of 120+ video tutorials taught by master musician Chaka Chawasarira
  • a 35-hour documentation of the process of building a matepe, starting from a block of wood and a pile of scrap metal
  • a blog of our activities in the project and beyond

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  • “Catholic Music Legend”

    “Catholic Music Legend”

    How many people can claim to be the official pioneer of a “Standard Catholic Drum Beat”? If you have read Chaka Chawasarira’s biography, you know the suspicion and rejection he faced when he introduced drums and the mbira into the Catholic church service. At least for the former, he recently received an award. Now I…

  • Matepe 21st presentation concert / TIR stage debut

    Matepe 21st presentation concert / TIR stage debut

    If you’re in or near Berlin on Tuesday (June 11th), don’t miss Transatlantic Impulse Response‘s stage debut! Unfortunately Kenyan DJ Alai K / Disco Vumbi broke his leg and won’t be able to support them. Instead, we’ll have spoken word artist Jumọke and possible another surprise guest! Next occasion to see TIR live will be…

  • second milestone: Building matepe second milestone: Building matepe

    It is my great pleasure to announce the completion of the matepe making documentation with Sekuru Chawasarira! 35 hours of sawing, drilling, rasping, cutting, hammering, filing, carving, gluing, grinding, bending, burning, close listening, and explaining – with some fine conversation along the way. Cutting all the raw material was a gargantuan task, all done by…

  • A visit to the home of mbila deza maker and player Vho-Mbangiseni Netshamutshedzi

    A visit to the home of mbila deza maker and player Vho-Mbangiseni Netshamutshedzi

    A guest post by Ian Garrett. Having become an amateur mbira enthusiast over the past few years, I noticed that mbila deza, South Africa’s only surviving indigenous mbira (played by Venda and Lemba people) seems to be little known outside the Vhembe region of Limpopo province. In 2023, I assisted Stefan Franke to create a…

  • Central Mozambique mbira album recordings

    Central Mozambique mbira album recordings

    This post is not related to the matepe project, but certainly wouldn’t be here without it. In late 2022, Tatenda Cangola and I started the donation-funded project Visibility for Kalimba makers and players in rural Mozambique. For various reasons, including the matepe project, I had to take a longer break. Three weeks ago Leo Batuki…

  • Celebrating first milestone

    Celebrating first milestone

    Today we’re celebrating our first big milestone: All music teaching videos are online! With the exception of Paul Berliner and Cosmas Magaya’s opus magmum Mbira’s Restless Dance, this is the largest effort that I know of to document a mbira tradition. Unlike an academic publication, our focus is on cultural preservation. The primary target audience…

  • Harare concert rehearsal

    Harare concert rehearsal

    Last Thursday, this illustrious group of mbira musicians met to rehearse the Matepe 21st presentation concert that will take place on the 15th of March at the Goethe Zentrum Harare / Zimbabwe German Society. Admission free. Chaka Chawasarira, Forward Kwenda, Jacob Mafuleni, Hope Masike, Othnell ‘Mangoma’ Moyo, Taffie Matiure, Nancy Nasibo Mutize, Mary Anibal, Leo…

  • New


    After months of hard work, we are pleased to present the first batch of learning videos on! We’ve started with Kuvachenjedza and Marume azere dare, plus a page about drumming and clapping. Many more will follow in the next few days. Kuda Samora Nyaruwabvu cut and edited all videos, after which I optimised the…

  • 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: