Zimfest News Blog

Passing of Sheasby Matiure

The Zimfest Association Board regrets to announce the passing of Dr. Sheasby Matiure in Zimbabwe. The Zimfest community has lost one of our longtime teachers and friends, a great contributor to Zimbabwean music education. Our deepest condolences go to his family and students worldwide.

Nematambudziko,
–ZA Board of Directors

Sheasby Matiure Obituary

It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Dr. Sheasby Matiure on November 10, 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Sheasby was an incredibly talented musician, educator and scholar in both North America and Zimbabwe. He was a commanding teacher, with a true passion for music, as well as for teaching. His dedication to his students was matched only by his dedication to his wife and family.

Sheasby Matiure and Ambuya Beauler Dyoko

Sheasby Matiure and Ambuya Beauler Dyoko

Sheasby Matiure, born on July 27, 1956, grew up in two areas: Chivhu in Mashonaland, south of Harare, and Bulawayo in western Zimbabwe. His grandfather played the mbira and wanted to teach him. However, he passed away before he could learn from him. In high school he stood out as a musician, playing piano and guitar, and among his favorite musical styles were maskanda, Palm Wine music, and Jimi Hendrix. Sheasby earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of Zimbabwe and a Music Instructor’s Certificate from Kwanongoma College of Music where he was introduced to the mbira nyunganyunga, the marimba and to choral singing, all of which became his areas of expertise and excellence. From 1985-2000, Sheasby served as Lecturer of Music Education at Seke Teacher Training College in Chitungwiza. He has performed across Europe, the United States, and Africa both as a solo artist and as Manager and Artistic Director of the Zimbabwe National Dance Company (1980-1982).

It was while Sheasby directed the National Dance Company that he met Dumisani Maraire who had returned from the US and was working for the Ministry of Youth Sport and Recreation. Dumi had taught and performed extensively in the US, and planted the seeds of the Zimbabwean music community, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Sheasby quickly became his right hand man, performing mbira nyunganyunga on international stages. Sheasby met Natalie Jones Kreutzer, who taught in the newly formed Music Education department at the University of Zimbabwe, and who sought a Zimbabwean musician to bring to the United States to serve as an artist-in-residence for the International Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University. She and Mary Goetze served as mentors to Sheasby throughout his time at IU.

Sheasby became an artist-in-residence at IU in 1997, and stayed in Bloomington to finish a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology in 1999. During that time, he also taught at Zimfest and across the US. In 1998, he formed the Mutinhimira Marimba Ensemble, with the support of IU’s Folklore & Ethnomusicology Department, which purchased the marimba set from Zimbabwe. In 2004, Sheasby returned to Indiana University on a Fulbright Scholarship to complete his PhD, including his dissertation, “Performing Zimbabwean Music In North America: An Ethnography of Mbira and Marimba Performance Practice in the United States.” During this time, he continued to teach in the Zimbabwean music community, formed a second incarnation of Mutinhimira, and led the Mbira Queens, an mmbira nyunganyunga ensemble featuring rich vocal harmonies. During both stints at IU, he taught undergraduate courses in African Music and Performance.

Sheasby Matiure Graduation

Sheasby Matiure Graduation

Upon completion of his PhD in Ethnomusicology (minor in African Studies) in 2008, he returned to Zimbabwe as Senior Lecturer of Music Education and Ethnomusicology and Chairman of the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Zimbabwe. In that role, he oversaw national education standards for Zimbabwe. He continued to passionately support the spread of Zimbabwean music through his ongoing connection to his mbira and marimba students in the US. His last teaching and performing tour was in the summer of 2014, and included Vermont, the Midwest, Boulder, Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest, including Zimfest and Nhemamusasa North. He had planned to return in 2017, hoping to introduce his musical son Tafadzwa to the Zimbabwean music community in the US.

He recorded two albums while at Indiana University, Ngoma (1998), a collection of mbira songs featuring back-up vocals by Monkey Puzzle, and Sarura Wako (2008), a combination of the Mbira Queens and Mutinhimira Marimba Band repertoire. Sarura Wako (in Shona, “choose your partner”) is dedicated to his wife, Jane.

Throughout his long career, Sheasby performed and conducted workshops in African musical performance in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Great Britain. He performed for Queen Elizabeth II during a tour of Australia, and for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her visit to IU. During his graduate studies, he performed and conducted workshops across the United States, in a variety of contexts. According to Sheasby, one pinnacle of his career was his performance with the Mbira Queens at Zimfest in 2008, as the crowd, many of whom were his students, former Dumi students, or fellow Zimbabwean musicians, sang along enthusiastically.

He was a well-loved teacher and friend to many in all corners of the US. He was known for his immensely powerful singing voice, his strict concern for Shona pronunciation, and his “tough love” teaching style. His humor kept workshops and rehearsals light and full of laughter, and his discipline sharpened our skills. Sheasby’s talent was immense, and his ability to teach Zimbabwean music was a cherished gift for students and audiences across the world. He believed that the power of music was in sharing it.

Dr. Sheasby Matiure is survived by his beloved wife, Jane, his daughters, Tinashe Hore (Matthew) and Tsungie Munyeza (Obert), and sons, Takudwa (Runyararo) and Tafadzwa, and five grandchildren. His spirit continues on through them, and through his friends and students.

–The Mbira Queens, Mutinhimira Marimba Ensemble, and friends

Sheasby and Jane Matiure

Sheasby and Jane Matiure

Donations to support Jane and the family with funeral expenses can be posted to PayPal at this link:
paypal.me/AngelaScharfenberger

Or checks can be sent to:
Angela Scharfenberger
1121 Julia Ave.
Louisville, KY 40204

“It does touch people’s souls…a lot of times, even when I’m playing on and on because I hear something I don’t usually hear, and I just keep playing on and on for a long time, the instrument is talking to me and I’m talking back to it. If that happens in a performance, that moves from you into the audience.” –Sheasby Matiure, 2007

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September Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the September 11th meeting of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Board Retreat and June and July Meeting Minutes

The Zimfest Association board of directors has posted meeting minutes from the June 19th and July 10th board meetings, and a summary of their February 20th & 21st strategic retreat.

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Zimfest 2016 Survey

Another fabulous festival is over; Zimfest 2016 is now history. If you were there, please take the Zimfest 2016 Survey at https://goo.gl/forms/lF7glY8e5a0R4aC83

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Calling all Zimfest Old Timers

Greetings,
The Zimfest Association Board of Directors is very interested in hearing how future Zimfests can better meet the needs and desires of experienced musicians and long-time Zimfest participants. At this year’s festival, The Board will be hosting a discussion on Saturday August 13 at 11:45 a.m.in the Backstage Room in Valsetz Dining Center to hear your feedback on this topic. Please join us, bring your lunch, bring your ideas, and help contribute to stronger Zimfests in the future! This is a lunch meeting, so get your food in the cafeteria at Valsetz and then come back out towards the entrance and turn left into the Backstage Room.

Hope to see you there!
Zimfest Association Board of Directors

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Drums and Mbira Needed for Zimfest Workshops

Hi all,

Zimfest needs loaner drums and mavembe/gandanga mbira for workshops.
 
If you have either a conga/djembe drum, or a mavembe/gandanga mbira that you are willing to loan, please bring it to the registration desk Thursday or Friday morning.  We will check it in, label it with your name, and treat it as if it were our own.
Thanks!
Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee
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Zimfest Tips

Greetings Zimfest Participants,

There are now six days remaining before Zimfest 2016 launches! We have a few tips and reminders for Zimfest participants, whether you are new to the festival or an old hand:

  • The weather forecast for Monmouth OR is for continued sunny and warm weather,  likely to be in the 80s during the festival. Be sure to put on sunscreen and bring fans for your rooms. Like most colleges, Western Oregon University has no air conditioning in the dorms.
  • Zimfest supplies (borrowed) marimbas and hosho for workshops, but it can be challenging procuring enough instruments for the many types of workshops we offer. If you have or can borrow a mbira in the tuning a workshop will be taught in, please bring it; otherwise the teacher or Zimfest will provide one. The same goes for drumming workshops; if you own or can borrow a drum for a workshop you are taking, please bring it.  If you are taking a guitar workshop and have a guitar amp, please bring it as Zimfest cannot provide amps.
  • Zimfest online registration for housing, dining and workshops is now closed, but you can still sign up for volunteer shifts here. Onsite registration will open at the festival at noon on Thursday August 11. You will then be able to enroll in workshops that still have space in them by going to the Registration Desk.
  • Workshop registrations will close 15 minutes before the session starting time in order for staff to print final workshop rosters.  In some cases latecomers may request a “golden ticket” to sign up for an open workshop up until the start time of the workshop.
  • Very often bands performing at Zimfest like to sell their CDs after their shows. If you are performing on the evening concert stage, Zimfest can provide table space in the WUC West Lobby outside the Pacific Room concert hall. Please provide your own CD salespeople, as Zimfest volunteers cannot sell CDs for you.

Thanks for reading, and see you at the festival!

Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

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Online Registration Closes August 4

Dear Zimfest Participants,
Complete your workshop registrations and concert ticket purchases this week! Online registration for both Zimfest workshops and concert tickets closes Thursday, August 4 (registration for Zimfest housing and dining is already closed).  After this date:

  • You will not be able to sign up for open spaces in workshops until August 11 at onsite registration.
  • You will not be able to purchase concert tickets at the discounted advance sale price.
  • Concert tickets will be available at the door of the WOU Pacific Room from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Aug 12 – 14. No tickets will be sold at the Zimfest Registration Desk.

See you in Monmouth!

2016 Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Less Than 1 Week To Go

Less Than 1 Week To Go

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

drumming workshopLast day for online workshop registration is August 3rd

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

marimba workshopmarimba workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

mbira workshopmbira workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

Last day for online workshop registration is August 3rddance workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

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Volunteer Request

Zimfest is just two weeks away! The Organizing Committee is eagerly watching volunteer sign-ups to learn who can help pull final festival details together on Wednesday and Thursday, August 10 and 11.

Are you arriving in Monmouth on Wednesday or Thursday? If so, we can use your help setting up – particularly WORKSHOP INSTRUMENT SETUP, GENERAL FESTIVAL SETUP, SIGNAGE SETUP and COMPUTER ASSIST (at registration). If you do not have a task preference, sign up for a shift at the VOLUNTEER TABLE. Every task scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday is our first priority to fill.

Sign up here: https://zimfest.org/vol/volunteer-tasks/. With your assistance, we look forward to preparing the space for another fabulous Zimfest!

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” —Oscar Wilde

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Registration Deadline Reminder

Greetings Zimfest community,

Registration is going well and the excitement is building – Zimfest 2016 is only three weeks away! We wanted to remind you that there will be no housing available at the festival unless you book it in advance, and you must make your reservations online as soon as possible. Here are the important deadlines to be aware of:

  • July 25 (Monday): Sign up and pay for all housing by this date.
  • July 28 (Thursday): Workshops with enrollments of less than three (marimba) or two (all other workshops) will be canceled.
  • August 3 (Wednesday): Last day to drop workshops

See Registration Deadlines on the website for more information. To register for housing, meals, workshops, and concert tickets, go to https://register.zimfest.org.

Keep up with workshop changes: https://zimfest.org/news/festival-updates/

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

See you soon,
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
On behalf of the Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee

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Calling All Mbira Players … and Adventurers

Calling all mbira players and "what is an mbira, maybe I would like to try it" adventurers

We have a marvelous lineup of mbira teachers at Zimfest this year and a spot just for you! From beginning workshops to advanced, from traditional songs to new and unusual instruments.

photo-two-mbiras-smallphoto-mbira-in-deze-smallphoto-nyunga-nyunga-small

Our group of 7 teachers include 4 who are Zimbabwean and are highlighted below:

Photo of Musekiwa ChingodzaMusekiwa Chingodza was born into a family of great mbira players in Mwangara village, Murewa, Zimbabwe. 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. This year, Musekiwa introduces a nyunga nyunga with an extra key which broadens the instrument’s repertoire. Read more…

Video of Musekiwa

Photo of Moyo Rainos MutambaMoyo Rainos Mutamba grew up mostly in the Ndau/Karanga-speaking areas of Zimbabwe, immersed in muchongoyo, maduda and ngororombe drumming and dance. He fell in love with mbira from hearing his great-uncle play at family gatherings and from recordings on ZBC Radio 2. Moyo has just returned from Zimbabwe from a three-month mbira mentorship immersion with Garikayi Tirikoti where he learnt Tirikoti’s seven-mbira orchestra. Read more…

Photo of Chakaipa MhembereChakaipa Mhembere was born in Chegutu, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. He started playing mbira when he was four years old. His totem is “Shumba”, and he has played with Thomas Mapfumo since 1995. Now based in Eugene Oregon, Chaka works with the mbira group Mudzidzi. Read more…

Video of Chaka

photo-mbira-in-deze-smallClayton Master was born in Mbare (Harare) Zimbabwe in a family of seven. All of them have something to do with the lovely arts of Zimbabwe. He began teaching dance at 16 years old, then moved to Victoria Falls to work full-time performing mbira and dancing. He also taught djembe drums for several years in Victoria Falls. Clayton is currently based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Read more…

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