Originally from California, Chris is “one of the living masters of African drumming.” Chris has roots in both hand percussion and the Shona mbira. He is a fluent Shona speaker and gwenyambira ("one whose music calls the spirits"), a distinction reserved only for those who have achieved the highest fusion of the technical and the magical in music. Chris was Randy’s first teacher and encouraged much of his initial musical creativity with marimba music. www.chrisberrymusic.org
Jeff began playing Shona music at age 10. Since 1997, he has studied with
over a dozen teachers from Zimbabwe and the US, most notably Chris Berry,
Cosmas Magaya, Musekiwa Chingodza, Mike Cox, and Peter Swing. Jeff serves as
the director of Santa Fe's Andé Marimba Band, and has performed with them on
mbira and marimba since 2000. He also currently plays with Anzanga Marimba
Ensemble in Seattle, under the direction of Sheree Seretse. In addition to
playing Zimbabwean music, Jeff is an accomplished classical musician and
composer, holding a degree in music composition from the University of Puget
Sound, where he also studied conducting, piano, and bass clarinet. He has
been contracted by the university on multiple occasions to give lectures on
ethnomusicology and mbira music. He has also worked extensively with Chris
Berry, including recording projects, teaching engagements, and live
concerts. Jeff has been instrumental in pioneering the Panj-Orchestra
concept, and serves on staff regularly at Chris' Camp Nuandu in Hawaii.
Jeff's goal is to foster a deeper appreciation among his students for the
ancient traditional music of Zimbabwe, while staying on the cutting edge of
musical innovation and cross-cultural exchange.
Julia Tsitsi Chigamba grew up in the rich cultural traditions of Shona music and dance. Daughter of the highly respected gwenyambira, Sekuru Chigamba, she is a longtime member of Mhembero, the Chigamba family dance and mbira ensemble. Julia came to the United States in 1999. Two years later, in Oakland, California, she established the organization Tawanda muChinyakare and the music and dance company Chinyakare to share the beauty and wisdom of her culture in the United States. This summer she will be performing for Summer Sounds, music and art for kids, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Julia continues to teach dance, music and culture in Oakland schools and in the community.
Musekiwa was born into a family of great mbira players in Mwangara village, Murewa, Zimbabwe, in 1970. He began playing mbira at the age of five and is self-taught. Through listening to other gwenyambira, or great mbira players, he developed a strong attachment to and love for mbira music. He says, "Our music is both medicine and food, as mbira has the power to heal and to provide for people. Mbira pleases both the living and the dead." In 1991 Musekiwa was a key member of the band Panjea, founded by Chris Berry. He composed the hit song "Ganda" on Panjea's Zimbabwean album. Currently Musekiwa teaches mbira at Prince Edward School in Harare. He is an excellent singer, dancer and drummer and plays both mbira dzavadzimu and nyunga nyunga.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Rujeko's early life was profoundly influenced by African musicians, healers, and Shona tradition. She left Africa to continue her education in America. Currently Rujeko teaches African dance in New York, tours nationally and internationally and runs Camp Tumbuka with Chris Berry. www.panjea.org
Beauler Dyoko is one of the best-known female mbira players and singers in Zimbabwe. She has performed with Mhuri yekwa Rwizi/Soul of Mbira groups and her own band for many years in Zimbabwe and throughout the world. She and her 10-member band have made several recordings. She has visited Boulder many times and her visits always bring a profound and deep understanding of Shona music and culture to all who study with her.
David Gweshe is a true pioneer of Zimbabwean music, constantly expanding the boundaries of traditional Shona music. Whether playing mbira at a bira ceremony or leading a group playing electric guitars, marimba, accordion or steel drum -- the wisdom of his spirituality comes through. Born in 1940, Sekuru Gweshe comes from the Budya people, a subgroup of the Kore Kore. He is a descendant of Nehoreka, the first of the Budya people and the founder of the Shumba totem originating in Tanganyika ( Tanzania). He began playing njari at age 14 and over time added keys to the njari in order to "play all the parts" of the music that he heard in his head. This is how Sekuru Gweshe devised the Munyonga mbira featured on his CD Mhuri YekwaNehoreka. The songs that Sekuru Gweshe plays are mainly played at religious functions in which the music is used to summon ancestral spirits.
Sekuru Gweshe is a spiritual leader who has an important message for the people of today. He feels that through colonization and suppression of the indigenous cultures of the world, people have lost their sense of self-importance and the power of their traditional culture. The 'civilized madness' of today is not helping eliminate the problems of drought, disease, and corruption. He believes that by going back to our ancestors, we can learn to fix these problems.
When in 2001 four extremely talented young men decided to follow their hearts and enter into the music world, no one would give them a chance.
Determined despite the lack of support, the four spent their days collaborating to come up with a distinct sound that would add a tasty new flavor to the world of music. They have beautifully fused styles from all over the world with the music they grew up with, pouring their souls into every note and touching the hearts of people from every generation. Bongo Love was formed in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe by John Mambira, who still heads up the band. http://www.bongolovemusic.com
Jacob is a multitalented qwenyambira who is as equally adept at the ngoma as he is at the mbira. He is a highly sought-after musician in Zimbabwe, performing with renowned musician Chiwoniso Maraire & Vibe Culture.
Cosmas Magaya is an internationally recognized mbira player and teacher and is the leader of the ensemble Mhuri yekwa Magaya. He has been an avid student and player of mbira dzavadzimu from the time he was eight, when he `pinched' his cousin's instrument for surreptitious study. Sekuru Magaya is a master of the instrument, having studied with many great players. He has performed with the renowned Mhuri yekwa Rwizi mbira group for over 25 years, participating with them in concert tours of Europe and the U.S. He was instrumental in the writing of Paul Berliner's The Soul of Mbira in the 1970s, and continues to work closely with Dr. Berliner as a consultant on Zimbabwean music. Sekuru Magaya experienced both sides of Christian and Traditional life as he grew up. His parents were married in the Roman Catholic Church, and his father was a renowned n'anga, or traditional healer, as well as a cultural expert whose advice was sought by people from all walks of life.
Growing up in rural Zimbabwe, one of Farai's major pastime activities were songs and games with other children in the village. In her songs and games classes, her passion for teaching, love for children and nostalgia for her childhood provide children with a wonderful songs and games experience. Having studied the Shona language extensively and also being a native speaker, Farai also provides much of the Shona language assistance at Kutandara Center through language lessons, song lyric assistance and pronunciation guidance. Farai received her M.Ed. in Education and Human Resources in 2000 and her Ph.D. in 2006, both from Colorado State University.
Zi is an amazingly versatile musician, performer and teacher of Zimbabwean music and culture. Primarily a guitarist, he is also a vocalist, plays trumpet, keyboards, mbira and marimba among other instruments. Zivanai has appeared on hundreds of recordings in various capacities, played trumpet and guitar with Thomas Mapfumo, is currently lead guitarist in Chris Berry's exceptional pop band, Panjea. He is also a well-respected sound engineer and producer and recently released a new CD of his own compositions. zivimusic.com
Paul is originally from Bikita, in the southeastern province of Masvingo. Paul has been playing marimba for since he was a young boy and is known for his complexly beautiful compositions and arrangements. He has taught in schools in and around the Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe as well as in primary schools in Harare. Currently, he is living, working and playing marimba in the Seattle area with his band Ruvizo.
Sheasby is a highly respected Zimbabwean musician, adept at playing mbira, ngoma, hosho and marimba, and at teaching choral singing. He has traveled far and wide, conducting workshops and lecture demonstrations in Sweden, Norway, Australia, the United States and many African countries. From 1997 to 1999, Sheasby was an artist in residence with the International Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University. At present he is completing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Indiana University.
A principal member of Akrowa Cultural Performance Ensemble at the Academy of African Music and Arts in Accra, Ghana, he has trained with world-renowned master drummers Moustapha Teddy Addy and Obo Addy. He has toured internationally with the Royal Ga Troupe, Obonu on Peter Gabriel's WOMAD Festival and has collaborated with Pharaoh Sanders.
He currently directs Logo Ligi, which consists of musicians and dancers who have studied Ghanaian music for many years. The troupe is dedicated to celebrating and teaching the style and spirit of traditional Ghanaian performance art. Music is used in African communities for ritual ceremonies like weddings and births, as well as for the everyday celebration of life and social engagements. logoligi.com
Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa was born in 1976 in the village of Mutimbanyoka, in Murewa district, Zimbabwe. With an exceptional interest he began playing mbira at the age of six. This keen learner watched while his father, uncles and other village elders played mbira in traditional ceremonies. Soon he began his journey as a young child singing, dancing, playing mbira and drums in traditional ceremonies and other village gatherings. In 1994 Kurai moved to Harare where he joined the cultural group Savannah Arts where he learned to play marimba and trained as an actor. Here he facilitated and coordinated the Streets Ahead programme which focused on teaching street youth to play marimba. In 1998 Kurai toured West Africa and Europe with Chiwoniso Maraire and opened for Cesaria Evora.
Kurai began his Canadian musical journey in 2002 when he immigrated to Vancouver. After getting his Canadian citizenship, Kurai was able to go back on the road, traveling across Europe with Chiwoniso Maraire, performing in various world music festivals including WOMAD as well as participating in Zimfest. Currently, he teachers in Canada's Britannia World Music Program, teaching youth marimba classes. Kurai conducts mbira and drumming workshops and performs as the lead musician with the group ZimbaMoto.
Tendai Muparutsa was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe. He attended the Zimbabwe College of Music, where he was taught by Dumisani Maraire, Sheasby Matiure, Claire Jones, Mitchel Strampf, and several others.
Tendai describes himself as more of an ethnomusicologist than just a music educator. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Zimbabwe and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Music Education at the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada. Before Tendai left Zimbabwe he was a Teaching Assistant at Midlands State University, where he led their marimba and dance sections.
Tonde II is a young gwenyambira, but is routinely summoned to play at traditional spiritual ceremonies in his village. He plays the Hweva (rhythm) mbira and often fills in on the Nheketo in performances. His mbira style is highly improvisational and yet deeply spiritual at the same time. Eyes closed for most of his performances, pacing back and forth as if playing a little game with the audience, he is entertaining to watch when he gets into a groove, as he starts to wildly shake his dreadlocks in sync with what he is playing.
Tonde I was an amazing dancer, hosho player, mbira player and drummer. This gave him the unique role of dancer, body percussionist, hosho player and court jester for his band Mawungira Enharira. The group's performances would not have been the same without this energetic musician to stir the audience into a frenzy. His hosho improvisation would send shivers down one's spine, with strong pulses and fluid swooshes that other experienced hosho players still envy. Tonde I was often seen interacting and engaging with the audiences, doing blessings with his hosho or dancing stick, as well as joining audience members in an impromptu dance sequence that almost always leaves one wanting more. Tonde I passed away in 2008.
Peter has taught marimba since 1994. He has studied with Dumisani Maraire, Mai Chi, Ephat Mujuru and Chris Berry. Peter has played in Boko Marimba, JAKA, Trillium and directed the youth ensemble Tatenda for many years. He’s also taught at Camp Tumbuka for several years.
Martha is a well-respected dancer and musician in her home country of Zimbabwe, rivaling many of the Zimbabwean dancers and musicians staying here in the US. Martha has traveled extensively around Europe with professional touring acts and will now be visiting the US for the first time with her husband, Jacob Mafuleni.
Born in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, Fara Tolno spent most of his youth growing up in Kissidougou and Conakry. Playing djembe since the age of 9, he has traveled extensively teaching both drumming and dance. He spent 9 years as the lead drummer for the Merveailles (the younger ensemble akin to Le Ballet African) under the tutelage of Kemoko Sano. Fara was one of the accompanying drummers when Mamady Keita was in Arizona a few years ago.
Fara has a wonderful way of teaching the expert concepts and techniques of the djembe to western players of all levels, and his energetic style make his drum and dance classes very fun! www.faratolno.com
Why Music for My Child?
• Current Offerings
• Summer Camps
• School-Year Day Camps
• School Programs
• Visiting Artist Program