Live Participatory Workshops

Zimfest 2021 included live participatory workshops online. The workshops involved real-time interaction between the teacher/presenter and students. They were hosted on Zoom with durations of 60 or 90 minutes. Registration was required with a requested donation of $15.00 per hour.

Workshops have concluded and are no longer available.

Video 1 — 1.5 hours

Mbira: Bangidza
Alois Mutinhiri and Daniel Lockley

In this workshop, Daniel will teach the kusharua and kutsinhira to Alois’s version of Bangidza on mbira dzavadzimu. Even though we’d all rather learn directly from the source, having Daniel teach will allow real time communication between the teacher and students! All proceeds will go directly to Alois and his Ngoma yePasichigare Cultural Centre (see http://ngomakids.org).

Alois MutinhiriAlois started playing mbira in 1976 when he was six years old. No one taught him how to play, he just dreamt of playing with an old man. When he asked his father who it was, he said it was Alois’s great grandfather. He started teaching in 1990, first working with young people in his area. Over the years, He has worked with James Mujuru, the Magaya family, Moyo Mutamba, Erica Azim, and many others. He currently teaches mbira at Ngoma yePasichigare Centre for Kids, an organization he founded in order to give back to his community.

Video 2 — 1 hour

Singing: Taireva Mbuya Nehanda
Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza

Through a combination of live discussion and pre-recorded audio and video materials, this class will present Musekiwa Chingodza’s beautiful rendition of a well-known sacred song from Zimbabwe. Musekiwa will contribute the pre-recorded audio and video footage, and his long-time student Jennifer Kyker will facilitate the live discussion. All class proceeds go to Musekiwa Chingodza.

Dr Jennifer KykerJennifer W. Kyker has played Zimbabwean music since 1990 and is an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Rochester. Her primary mbira teachers are Musekiwa Chingodza, Sekuru Tute Chigamba, and Patience Chaitezvi Munjeri. Jennifer is a former Zimfest board member and a founder member of Tariro, a non-profit organization that educates young women in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Tariro’s drum and dance troupe, Ngoma YeKwedu, offers Tariro students in-depth indigenous music and arts education. Jennifer currently directs the advanced mbira ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.

Musekiwa ChingodzaMusekiwa Chingodza 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. Musekiwa taught mbira at Harare’s prestigious Prince Edward School for many years and continues to be in demand to play mbira at ceremonies in Zimbabwe. With his engaging personality, gentle teaching style, virtuosic mbira playing, and deep immersion in his culture, Musekiwa has enjoyed many successful North American tours. Musekiwa has released numerous albums, including Tsunga (1999), VaChingodza Budai Pachena (2001), Kutema Musasa (2005), Muronda Tsimba (2009), Tomutenda Mambo (2011), and more! For Musekiwa’s complete biography, please see: https://kutsinhira.org/classes/teachers/#musekiwa.

Video 3 — 1 hour

Beginning Zimbabwean Drumming
Sheree Seretse

Learn basic and cross patterns to some drum rhythms from Zimbabwe. Having your own drum or object to drum on during the workshop is encouraged.

Sheree SetetseSheree has been studying, teaching and performing Zimbabwean music since 1970. She has studied with numerous Zimbabwean musicians both in Zimbabwe and the US. “If you can hear the rhythms you can drum.”

Video 4 — 1.5 hours

Developing Your Lead Marimba Skills
Jeff Brahe

Aimed at intermediate marimba players and up, this workshop will help you step up your lead marimba game 1000%. Using the songs Chemutengure and Taireva as examples, we will play through many traditional melodies and rhythmical ideas, and thereby learn how to translate a vocal or mbira melody into a good marimba lead. I will teach simple sticking patterns for getting a rough idea, as well as complex stickings to capture every nuance as authentically as possible. We will also discuss big-picture ideas, “call and response” or “question and answer” structures, unique strengths of the marimba as a lead instrument, and some steps toward improvising without losing the essence of the song. Participants will need a marimba to play along on if they want to get the full benefit of this workshop.

Jeff BraheJeff Brahe has performed and taught Zimbabwean music all across the U.S. for most of his adult life, sharing the skills and insights from 22 years as an avid student and listener. As a youth, he co-directed and performed with the Andé Marimba Band, and now teaches out of Jekesa Marimba Studio in Tacoma, WA, where he also directs up to 7 performing ensembles each week. In 2019, Jeff and his peers founded Camp Batidza to provide a space for young adults to reconnect with Zimbabwean music and dance, and to collaborate with Zimbabwean artists their own age. This youth movement also gave rise to the Pachedu Orchestra, which performed in WA, OR, and CO.

Video 5 — 1 hour

Rova Ngoma Mtawasa on Nyunga Nyunga
Barnabas Ngalande and Daniel Lockley

Barnabas writes: “Rova Ngoma Mtasawa” means “Play the drum, Mtasawa.” I’ve heard Mtasawa was the best drummer in all the villages. I am not sure who first adapted the song to nyunga nyunga. There are many tutorials focusing on elaborate solo playing, but I find it more important to teach simple complimentary parts in order to give new students the experience of connecting through the music. I will teach a basic part as well as high line and bass line developments. Daniel will be teaching on Barnabas’s behalf, and all proceeds will go to Barnabas.

Barnabas NgalandeBarnabas: I was born in 1974 in the Mazowe district and raised in a family where Shona traditions run deep, and the music of the mbira is played. In 1997 I took my first mbira dzavadzimu lessons from my uncle Willard Pasipamire. I then first learnt nyunga nyunga after meeting Professor Mitchel Strumpf whilst I was a visiting artist at Africa University near Mutare. Now I live in a village near Nyazura about one and a half hours drive southeast of Harare. I’m also Director at Denzva Community Marimba Project where I help less privileged children in our community. There I teach the children how to play marimba and mbira and other Shona traditional musical instruments with dances and song accompaniment.

Video 6 — 1 hour

Discussion of Engagement with Zimbabwean Music
Rujeko Dumbutshena and Māhealani Uchiyama

There is a power in performative arts of any culture. Those from the African continent are deeply rooted in the potential for healing and a unique way of relating to nature, spirituality, and knowledge sharing. What happens when these forms are globalized and digested through the prism of hierarchical power dynamics, romanticization, and unrecognized assumptions and expectations? What does it mean to engage in these forms in the absence of indigenous ways of knowing? How has the African diasporic experience been impacted by colonization and enslavement?

Rujeko DumbutshenaRujeko Dumbutshena is a Zimbabwean-born dancer, pedagogue, and performer who specializes in neo-traditional and contemporary African dance. She was an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Washington in Seattle and is about to start the same position at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She holds an MFA in dance from the University of New Mexico. She has been on faculty at the Central New Mexico Community College, the University of New Mexico, and Sarah Lawrence College. Rujeko has participated in artist in residencies at Williams College, the University of Rochester, and Duke University as part of the “Afro Feminist Performance Routes” cohort of artists. For 16 years, Rujeko directed African music and dance camps: Camp Mabina, Camp Tumbuka and Bantu Camp, and has since been guest teaching at African drum and dance conferences across the United States. She was an original ensemble member in Bill T. Jones’s Off-Broadway and Broadway musical production of FELA! She conducts her scholarly research on the interplay of gender and power in ritual performances.

Māhealani UchiyamaMāhealani Uchiyama is an award-winning dancer, musician, composer, choreographer, recording artist, author and teacher. She is the founder and director of the Māhea Uchiyama Center for International Dance in Berkeley and is Kumu Hula of Hālau KaUaTuahine. In addition to awards for excellence in Hawaiian and Tahitian dance, she is the recipient of the Aloha Spirit Award and has been presented the “Ke Kanaka Poʻokela” Award by the Berkeley Hawaiian Music Festival. Ms. Uchiyama is the former President of the Board of Directors of World Arts West and is now Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. She serves as Vice President of Mbira The Non-Profit, an organization dedicated to the perpetuation of Shona music. In the past year she created The African American Mbira Project (AAMP), which aims to introduce, support and perpetuate the music of the mbira of Zimbabwe within the African American community of the US. Her book The Mbira: An African Musical Tradition, is scheduled for publication later this year by North Atlantic Books / Penguin Random House.

Video 7 — 1 hour

Mbira Kushaura: Taireva Mbuya Nehanda
Musekiwa Chingodza and Jennifer Kyker

Through a combination of live discussion and pre-recorded audio and video materials, this class will offer a kushaura mbira part for this well-known sacred song from Zimbabwe. This workshop works well as a stand-alone, or in combination with Musekiwa’s singing workshop! Musekiwa will contribute the pre-recorded audio and video footage, and his long-time student Jennifer Kyker will facilitate the live discussion. All class proceeds go to Musekiwa Chingodza.

Musekiwa ChingodzaMusekiwa Chingodza 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. Musekiwa taught mbira at Harare’s prestigious Prince Edward School for many years and continues to be in demand to play mbira at ceremonies in Zimbabwe. With his engaging personality, gentle teaching style, virtuosic mbira playing, and deep immersion in his culture, Musekiwa has enjoyed many successful North American tours. Musekiwa has released numerous albums, including Tsunga (1999), VaChingodza Budai Pachena (2001), Kutema Musasa (2005), Muronda Tsimba (2009), Tomutenda Mambo (2011), and more! For Musekiwa’s complete biography, please see: https://kutsinhira.org/classes/teachers/#musekiwa.

Dr Jennifer KykerJennifer W. Kyker has played Zimbabwean music since 1990 and is an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Rochester. Her primary mbira teachers are Musekiwa Chingodza, Sekuru Tute Chigamba, and Patience Chaitezvi Munjeri. Jennifer is a former Zimfest board member and a founder member of Tariro, a non-profit organization that educates young women in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Tariro’s drum and dance troupe, Ngoma YeKwedu, offers Tariro students in-depth indigenous music and arts education. Jennifer currently directs the advanced mbira ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.