Category: Uncategorized

  • Kaleidophony


    (this post is for social media, please excuse the redundancy) Most of us probably have seen the “Spinning Dancer”, a famous bistable optical illusion. Does the dancer turn left or right? Your brain decides, the animation is always the same. What if I told you that there is music which works the same way? Enter…

  • Matepe making: Fitting spokes and forging keys

    Matepe making: Fitting spokes and forging keys

    Today Sekuru shared with us his secrets on how to securely attach the bar to the soundboard, using bicycle spokes. In the morning he went to a local market to look for them. With the bar securely in place, Chawasarira explained the details of key forging. After finishing the first key, it was Samora’s and…

  • Making the bridge, bar and brace

    Making the bridge, bar and brace

    After finishing the hardwood inlays, and levelling the hard and soft bits of the soundboard, Sekuru showed how to make and fit in the bridge (which the keys rest on), the bar (which holds the keys in place, and the brace (which wraps around the soundboard and holds the bar in place.

  • Matepe making: Hardwood inlays

    Matepe making: Hardwood inlays

    After recording Hurombo, Sekuru was keen to finish the hardwood inlays of the matepe soundboard. They are used for the keys to rest on, and to prevent the bridge from tilting when inserting the keys (Chawasarira’s innovation).

  • Hurombo


    This morning we started recording and overdubbing the two parts of Hurombo (poverty), a song also played at a mhondoro ceremony, but for the “lesser spirits”.

  • Matepe making: Shaping the soundboard

    Matepe making: Shaping the soundboard

    Today we took a break from documenting repertoire and started with matepe making, in order to test to process and see if have everything we need. Chaka Chawasarira shaped a soundboard from a roughly cut block of mupepe wood.

  • Dinner at Katrin’s

    Dinner at Katrin’s

    While we were taking down the equipment of our afternoon recording session in Katrin’s garden, the first guests arrived for dinner. An illustrious round with Ambuya Stella’s daughter Virginia Mukwesha, Hope Masike, Melody Zambuko from Music Crossroads, and Plot Mhako. A splendid evening with delicious food and inspiring conversations, Katrin connected our project with Melody,…

  • Hurombo performance

    Hurombo performance

    After our recording session in Katrin Simon’s garden pavilion, Sekuru gave us a nice performance of Hurombo, the song we planned to record next

  • Tatenda Cangola, Wako ndiwako

    Tatenda Cangola, Wako ndiwako

    Our next guest from the East arrived just the next day after Solomon’s departure: Tatenda Lenade Cangola from Chimoio, Mozambique, my partner in the Kalimba makers and players in rural Mozambique project. In the morning we had recorded the first parts of Wako ndiwako which, revealed by Sekuru’s tuning and to our great surprise, sounded…

  • Musengu, Nzou kudya mushonga

    Musengu, Nzou kudya mushonga

    Unfortunately, Solomon had to leave us early on, and we devoted ourselves to the two parts of Musengu, and Nzou kudya mushonga, of which Chawasarira says there is only one part.

  • Solomon Madhinga

    Solomon Madhinga

    What an immense pleasure and honour to welcome our special guest after a long working day! Solomon Madhinga, player and maker of the mbira dzaVaNau arrived to meet us and bring a couple of his mbiras. He lives east of Chipinge, just a few km from the Mozambican border, and had started very early in…

  • Kari mugomba, Pasi panodya

    Kari mugomba, Pasi panodya

    Kari mugomba is Chawasarira’s adaptation of the nhare song to the matepe. He says he tried the same with many nhare songs, but was unsatisfied with all but Kari mugomba (and Nehondo, which he still occasionally plays). It turned out that meanwhile he created different versions of Kari mugomba which can be played together like…