Zimfest Online

Zimfest is offering online workshops much like the Cultural Presentations at the festival. Taught by experienced Zimfest teachers, the sessions attempt to recreate the intimacy of classroom lecture-discussions. Our goal is to continue educating about Zimbabwean music and culture while supporting Zimbabwean artists. We are offering them on a donation basis, with a suggested donation of $10 per hour per participant. Please sign up! Take in an interesting talk and learn more about Zimbabwean culture!

All presentations take place via Zoom. You will be sent the Zoom link in your registration confirmation email.

Times listed below are Pacific Time.

Register for Zimfest Online »

August 2,  5:00 – 6:00 PM PDT

Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza
Kari Mugomba – Mbira Kushaura

Learn one way to play the kushaura part for the mbira dzavadzimu song “Kari Mugomba.” In this workshop, we will work from a ‘master text’ of a video recording featuring Musekiwa Chingodza. Through a series of teaching videos, Musekiwa’s long-time student Jennifer Kyker will break his playing down phrase by phrase, and hand by hand. This workshop will begin with a 60 minute Zoom session, during which Jennifer will discuss Musekiwa’s style of kushaura playing for “Kari Mugomba.” After this introduction, participants will be able to work through the teaching videos at their own pace during the following week (or longer, if you need it!).

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Jennifer is donating her teaching fee from this class to Musekiwa, to assist in covering income he has lost due to canceled tours during COVID-19. Suggested donations for this session are on a sliding scale of $10-30.

A note on tuning: These teaching videos will use Musekiwa Chingodza’s village tuning, which corresponds roughly to B-flat mixo. If your mbira is in Cosmas Magaya tuning, you will also be able to easily follow along. Erica’s workshop tuning is also not far off from Musekiwa’s tuning, so you may also be able to use a mbira in this tuning, as long as you are okay with variations in pitch. One option is to watch the teaching videos with the sound turned off, which can be helpful if your mbira is in a different tuning! Finally, even if your mbira is in a completely different tuning, you can still learn this part through the tab notation provided as part of this workshop.

August 9,  5:00 – 6:00 PM PDT (Workshop: 2 Hours Total)

Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza
Kari Mugomba – Singing

Learn call-and-response singing lines for the mbira song “Kari Mugomba!” In this class, we will study from a ‘master text’ featuring Musekiwa Chingodza’s singing. Through a series of teaching videos, Musekiwa’s long-time student Jennifer Kyker will break down these singing lines, and illustrate how to fit them together with the kushaura for “Kari Mugomba.” The workshop will begin with an introductory 60-minute Zoom session, during which Jennifer will discuss the lyrics, their meaning, and offer her perspective on Shona mbira-style singing. After the workshop, participants will be free to work through the teaching videos at their own pace over the following week (or longer, if needed!).

Read more

This is a two-hour workshop that includes a 60-minute Zoom session plus 60-75 minutes of teaching videos. Suggested donations are on a sliding scale of $10-30. Jennifer is donating her teaching fee from this class to Musekiwa, to assist in covering income he has lost due to canceled tours during COVID-19.

A note on tuning: These teaching videos will use Musekiwa Chingodza’s village tuning, which corresponds roughly to B-flat mixo. If your mbira is in Cosmas Magaya tuning, you will also be able to easily follow along. Erica’s workshop tuning is also not far off from Musekiwa’s tuning, so you may also be able to use a mbira in this tuning, as long as you are okay with variations in pitch. One option is to watch the teaching videos with the sound turned off, which can be helpful if your mbira is in a different tuning! Finally, even if your mbira is in a completely different tuning, you can still learn this part through the tab notation provided as part of this workshop.

Photo of Dr Jennifer KykerPhoto of Musekiwa ChingodzaJennifer W. Kyker is an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Rochester. She founded the nonprofit organization Tariro, which educates teenaged girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS (tariro.org). Jennifer has taught at Zimfest since 1995!

Musekiwa 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. 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.”

Past Events

June 6
Tapiwa Kapurura
Culture as Social Glue in a Challenged Community

June 13
Claire Jones
Mbira in Zimbabwean Popular Music: An Historical Perspective

June 20
Tendai Muparutsa
World Music Ensemble: Directing a College Marimba Band – A Williams College Experience

July 11
Linos Wengara Magaya with Tim Lloyd
The Role of the Mbira Within Shona Spiritual Culture

July 18
Jeff Brahe
Fundamentals of African Rhythm: Triplet (12/8) Version

July 31
Tanga Pasi (Sinini and Pamela Ngwenya)
Tanga Pasi from Zimbabwe to Germany

August 1
Zivanai Masango
Mvenge Mvenge Dance Party with Zi

August 2
Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza
Kari Mugomba – Mbira Kushaura