Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimbabwean music and culture"

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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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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Announcing Zimfest 2016

Registration is now open for the 25th Zimbabwean Music Festival in North America.

The festival is an annual celebration of Zimbabwean music and culture. A fun-filled four-day weekend of concerts, workshops, community conversations, a marketplace, late night mbira & jamming parties, and more; Zimfest is the largest annual gathering in North America of students, teachers, performers, and fans of Zimbabwean music.

Zimfest 2016 will be held August 11-14 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Just west of Salem, the WOU campus provides an attractive and comfortable site. Housing, camping, and meals are available on-campus.

How to Register

Register for festival workshops, concert tickets, housing and meals at https://register.zimfest.org. Workshops can be viewed by teacher, type of workshop, or day and time.

Detailed information about the festival is available at https://zimfest.org. The volunteer signup can also be found there.

Volunteerism is at the heart of every Zimfest. All festival attendees can help by volunteering for a task or two. Volunteers help organize and run the entire festival!

Zimbabwean Guests

Zimbabweans joining us at Zimfest to teach and/or perform for the first time include:

  • Edmonton-based group Mbira Renaissance led by Chakanaka Zinyemba
  • Marimba specialist Simba Kamuriwo
  • Dancer/mbira/hosho player Clayton Master
  • Cultural educators Victoria and Tapiwa Kapurura

Traveling from abroad to be with us are:

  • Popular mbira virtuoso and teacher Musekiwa Chingodza (coming from Zimbabwe)
  • Kwanongoma graduate and marimba expert Michael Sibanda (based in South Africa)
  • Multi-talented vocalist and dancer Lucky Moyo (travelling from England)

(As always at this point in time, visas or travel plans are still pending for several of these artists.)

We extend a hearty welcome to the following North American-based Zimbabwean teachers and performers:

  • Clayton Pasi Gunguwo
  • Mandla Kaunda
  • Zivanai Masango
  • Paul Mataruse
  • Chakaipa Mhembere
  • Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa
  • Muchineripi family band Chihera
  • Samuel Mukwedeya
  • Moyo Rainos Mutamba

After an absence of several years, we are ecstatic to welcome back to the Zimfest fold:

  • Chinyakare Ensemble, led by the incomparable Julia Chigamba. Say hello again to Chigamba family members Augusten Basa, Gerald Basa, Kanukai Chigamba and Ronnie Daliyo; and the equally talented non-Zimbabwean Chinyakare members Cathy Crystal, Casey Daliyo, Moeketsi Gibe, Russell Landers, DeLisa Nealy, and Sarah Noll.

Concerts

Zimfest concerts occur from Thursday evening through Sunday night.

Opening Ceremony & Free Concert on the Outdoor Stage:
Thursday 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Following the opening ceremony, Nyemwerero will set the tone of the festival with the dynamic sound of Musekiwa Chingodza on mbira, joined by Zivanai Masango and other members of ZiMBiRA!

Free Afternoon Concerts on the Outdoor Stage:
Friday Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Noon to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday Noon to 5:30 p.m.

Evening Concerts (Ticketed, Indoors):
Friday 7:30 to Midnight
Saturday 7:30 to Midnight
Sunday 7:30 to Midnight

African Marketplace

Come visit the Zimfest 2016 Marketplace and explore the wonderful assortment of African art, clothing, crafts, musical instruments, CDs, and DVDs available for purchase. Relax on the broad grassy lawn and enjoy the music from the afternoon concert stage as you shop for special treasures. The Marketplace also provides an opportunity to learn about and support nonprofit organizations that are working with the people of Zimbabwe. Your purchases from these nonprofits will benefit many lives in Zimbabwe. The Marketplace will be open Friday 10:00-5:00, Saturday 10:00-5:30, and Sunday noon-5:30.

Workshops

Valuing education as well as performance, Zimfest attracts Zimbabwean music and culture experts from around the world to teach festival participants. Zimfest offers a large selection of workshops at all skill levels in marimba, mbira, hosho, singing, dance, drumming, guitar, chipendani, and makwa (clapping), as well as a variety of cultural presentations. Details and registration are available at https://register.zimfest.org.

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

Zimfest 2016 will celebrate the theme “Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!” In Zimbabwe you only need one word to say “Play (music)” or “Dance” or “Play (have fun)”: Tambai if you speak chiShona, or Dlala in isiNdebele. What could be more appropriate to describe the three-and-a-half days of Zimbabwean-inflected music, dance, song, culture and fun that is the Zimbabwean Music Festival? Come sing-dance-play with us August 11-14. Tambai! Dlala!

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Zimfest 2016 Theme and Applications Reminder

Dear Zimfest Community,

Zimfest celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, come celebrate with us! We thank Musekiwa Chingodza and Lucky Moyo (yes, both are planning to come this year!) for help in choosing the theme for this year’s festival.

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

In Zimbabwe you only need one word to say “Play (music)” or “Dance” or “Play (have fun)”: Tambai if you speak chiShona, or Dlala in isiNdebele. What could be more appropriate to describe the three and a half days of Zimbabwean-inflected music, dance, song, culture and fun that is the Zimbabwean Music Festival? Come sing-dance-play with us at the 25th annual Zimfest at Western Oregon University, Monmouth OR, August 11-14, 2016. Tambai! Dlala!

Applications Closing Soon

The deadline for submitting your online applications to perform and/or teach at Zimfest 2016 is this weekend, March 12, 2016. We want your ideas! Don’t forget that this year’s emphasis is on Cultural Presentations. We encourage you (especially Zimbabwean instructors!) to propose workshops on a variety of cultural topics of interest to American students and fans of Zimbabwean music. Teachers of workshops with 20 or more participants will receive a higher pay rate. We’d love to see Presentation topics that attract large groups! All performer and teacher applications are available online at https://apply.zimfest.org.

As always, keep in mind that the festival can’t happen without your help! If you are interested in volunteering, please write volunteers {at} zimfest (dot) org.

Best regards on behalf of the 2016 Organizing Committee,

Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest Workshop Cancellations

Hello Zimfest community,

Yesterday was the deadline for cancellation of workshops with low enrollments. Please check the Workshop Changes page (https://zimfest.org/news/festival-updates/#workshop-changes) for a list of cancellations and changes. If you have been dropped from a cancelled workshop and have Zimfest credit, browse the workshop list for a replacement. There are still many open workshops in all categories: dance, mbira, marimba, presentations, songs and games!

You will have until August 5th to register for any open workshops, drop workshops or transfer to other workshops. On that date, workshop registrations will be frozen until the festival and no changes will be allowed. During the festival, students may not drop or transfer to another workshop unless the workshop they are enrolled in has been significantly changed by the festival organizers (such as a different teacher.) See the page About Workshops for more information on cancellations and situations in which you may apply for a refund (https://zimfest.org/wksps/about-workshops/).

Enjoy the blue moon tonight!
Zimfest 2015 Organizing Committee
Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony

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Zimfest Reminders

Dear Zimfest Community,

Here are a few reminders:

Festival volunteers needed: Please log on to online registration to choose a volunteer task and time. Shifts are still available in every area — registration, concerts, workshops & marketplace. Go to: https://zimfest.org/volunteer/list/ (the program will not allow you to double-book workshops and volunteer shifts).

Housing registration closes July 28: Tuesday is the last day you can pre-register for on-campus housing, camping and meals. Go to: https://zimfest.org/location/housing/ for information on WOU housing.

Low enrollment workshops: We have had to cancel some workshops with low enrollment now to help ensure the best possible enrollment in the remaining workshops. If you have been thinking of taking a class that might be on the cusp, sign up now! Online registration for workshops will close on August 6.

Concert schedules are online at https://zimfest.org/overview/concerts/

Zimfest 2015 Organizing Committee
Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony

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Zimfest Registration and Memberships

We have had a tremendous response since Zimfest registration went live last week! Some of our marimba workshops are already filling up and we have added a second session of one at the Advanced beginner level. We would love to see more people enrolling in classes on other instruments besides marimba, and have added a guitar workshop to be taught by Matt Gordon. We also have many tremendous offerings in dance and cultural presentations. You can find announcements of these and all future workshop changes at the Festival Updates and Workshop Changes page.

For those of you who have been frustrated trying to purchase a Zimfest membership, the link to the Membership and Donations page has been repaired! Membership in the Zimfest Association gives you a waiver on the festival registration fee and helps support the Association and festival itself. We are grateful for any donations (all tax-deductible) above the cost of membership.

Join us at Zimfest 2015
Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony

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Zimfest 2015 Registration Is Open

Dear Zimfest Community,

Registration is now live for the 24th Annual Zimbabwean Music Festival in Monmouth, OR, August 13-16, 2015.

The festival offers three days of workshops on diverse aspects of Zimbabwean culture, free afternoon concerts, an African Marketplace and ticketed evening concerts.

Go to zimfest.org for the festival program and register for workshops, housing, meals and concert tickets. Performance schedules, still being determined, will be available soon.

Valuing education as well as performance, Zimfest attracts Zimbabwean music and culture experts from around the world to teach festival participants. Workshops are available on everything from basic Shona drumming to traditional dance to the ancient sounds of mbira and the irresistible, effervescent marimba.

Featured Zimbabweans: Master mbira players Patience Munjeri and Vitalis Botsa; marimba specialists Patience Musandirire and Paul Mataruse; multi-instrumentalist Kurai Blessings Mubaiwa; the electric duo Mbira Spirit; dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena and guitarist extraordinaire Zivanai Masango.

North American Performers: Anzanga Marimba Ensemble; Erica Azim; Chris Berry; Boka Marimba; Mahonyera Mbira Ensemble; Pachi Pamwe (mbira and guitar); Ruzivo; ZiMBira and many more.

Zimfest 2015 celebrates the theme “Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony.” Experience the power of African music and dance to bring people together in a full three and a half days of Zimbabwean-inflected music, dance, song, culture and fun!

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Announcing Zimfest 2015 Location and Dates

Dear Zimfest Community,

The Zimfest Board and I are pleased to announce the dates and location for next year’s festival. Zimfest 2015 will be held August 13-16, 2015 at Western Oregon University. WOU is a campus of about 6,000 located in Monmouth, OR, 20 minutes west of the capital, Salem. We are happy to return the festival to Oregon, in a location that is nearly equidistant from Portland and Eugene—an easy 75 minute drive from either city. Monmouth is in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley, wine country, with easy access to the Oregon coast.

The Grove at WOU, Potential Zimfest Marketplace Site

The Grove at WOU, Potential Zimfest Marketplace Site

We realize that we are somewhat late in announcing these dates to you, and want to let you know that we have been researching potential Zimfest sites not only for 2015 but for future festivals as well. It has become more and more difficult to find the facilities we require for a full festival at affordable rates and desirable dates. For this reason the need to settle on one or more semi-permanent sites has become more urgent. We are hoping Western Oregon University might work for our community as a home. As always, we ask for your feedback.

I am also late to form an organizing committee! If you would like to be involved in planning and organizing Zimfest 2015 in any way or form, please e-mail me: claire-at-zimfest-dot-org.

Best regards,
Claire Jones
Zimfest Coordinator

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Final Pre-Zimfest Message

Hello all,

Well the Zimfest Organizing Committee has done its job, the musicians are gathering and we’ll see each other in a few short days. Some reminders to those coming to Zimfest 2014:

  • If you will be arriving on Wednesday or any other day after 5 PM, please let us know your expected time of arrival by e-mailing gro.t1490751388sefmi1490751388z@gni1490751388suoh1490751388. Late arrivals will need to go to UPS Security Services at 3206 N. 15th St. to collect their room and dorm keys. Their office is located in a house on the SW corner of N. 15th St. and Alder St., right at the main entrance to campus. You may contact Security Services at 253-879-3311.
  • There are kitchens in the ground floor of each dorm for those wanting to make coffee or store food in a fridge. The kitchens are not equipped with any pots and pans or cooking utensils however.
  • The weather is supposed to heat up again by the weekend. Bring a fan, the dorms are not air conditioned!

Looking forward to a wonderful three days of dance and music!

—Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee

 

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Zimfest Reminders

Zimfest Participants,

Friday July 18th is the last day to drop Zimfest workshops. The deadline for signing up for Zimfest housing and meals has already passed, but there may be a limited number of rooms and meals available at onsite registration starting Thursday July 24.

Are you aware of the Panel Discussion taking place at Zimfest Saturday July 26? The panel topic, “Implications and Ethics of an Online Zimbabwean Music Database,” is an offshoot of a rich exchange that took place in November 2013 on the Dandemutande.org email list. We encourage all members of the Zimfest community to attend this free special session, as it represents a unique opportunity to discuss some important issues together with our panelists in real time. There is no need to register for the Discussion as it will take place in the Schneebeck Concert Hall. For more information, see https://2014.zimfest.org/festival-events/.

See you soon!
Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Update

Zimfest Participants,

We are sorry to inform you that Julia Chigamba and the Chinyakare Dance Ensemble will not be with us this year. We will miss them and hope to have them at Zimfest in the next year or so. Zimfest is very lucky, however, that some old friends are in the area and will be available to take Chinyakare’s performance spot. We are happy to announce the return of Bongo Love to the Zimfest Stage! The group has added two new performers to their lineup and have been wowing audiences up and down the West Coast, so we look forward to having them.

It is now less than two weeks before the start of Zimfest 2014, and we have had to cancel workshops with enrollments of less than two. Please check the webpage at https://2014.zimfest.org/news/ for a list of workshop changes and cancellations. Without Julia Chigamba, we have had to cancel the Mauya Mauya workshop—that will have to wait until Julia returns to Zimfest. The Dinhe Dance workshop she was going to teach is now in the capable hands (and feet) of Jimu Makurumbandi. If you were registered for a workshop that has been canceled, your account will be credited with the cost of the workshop. You may apply the credit towards another workshop. If you do not use the credit by the end of the festival, you may request a refund, or choose to donate the money to the Zimfest Association.

See you very soon,
Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee

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