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SPOONS FOR MASKANDI GIG (article first published : 2004-04-23)

The BEES development organisation will bring Zimbabwe musician “Spoons” (Farai Elias Chionomwe) to Durban to play at the regular monthly maskandi concert at the BAT Centre on May 7.

Following the concert, Malcolm Nhleko will record some of the "mbira" music to form part of the next Maskandi CD to be recorded.

“Spoons” grew up in a traditional Zimbabwean village, Nezvigara, with all aspects of culture and tradition, spirituality and morals. Being in this society transpired his soul to keep the trend between himself and culture. He started playing Mbira and drums at a tender age. His knowledge of Mibra is equated with a kid from a first world country growing up with computers and playstations!

Mbira is the Zimbabwean’s most widely used musical instruments at traditional gatherings. It is scared, spiritual and very soul soothing. “Spoons” says: “I feel liberated when I play, hear or walk past an mbira instrument”.

The Mbira are considered scared and are the most commonly used traditional instrument in Zimbabwe, believed to be the Zimbabwean people’s “free gift” from their ancestors. The instrument is handmade from beaten metal rods which are then fixed to a wooden soundboard and technically manufactured to suit the society. An mbira player uses two thumbs and an index finger, in conjunction with the nail, to strum the keys. This produces a cylindrical, melodious tune that sounds like rain pattering. The mibra is set in a calabash on the ground, which enhances the sound.

This indigenous musical instrument is undoubtedly the brain child of the Vashona tribe of Zimbabwe. It was made from a curved stick and evolved to metal at the advent of the Iron Age. Mbira reflects various aspects of the Zimbabwean culture because of its ability to summon and possess the ancestor’s spirit. “Spoons” says, “To me, Mbira connects my soul to the ancestors and I can communicate with the universe”

Nowadays, Mbira has fused its music with other world-known musical instruments.

More details from Elias Chinomwe on 011 440 1091 or e-mail: farai_ec@hotmail .com




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