Band leader, Tigere Kahamadze said that his group’s tour to the U.S. was facilitated by Matanho Project, a Washington-based non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of Zimbabwean musicians and their communities.
During their stay in the U.S., Kahamadze and fellow group members- Jacob Mafuleni, Micah Munhemo, Tonderai Ndaba and Pitchson Ngoshi- partook in music festivals teaching Mbira and Zimbabwean traditional dance.
“Since the days of Dumisani Maraire, Zimbabwean music has been growing in the U.S.,” said Kahamadze.
“Local musicians have been traveling there, and American musicians have been coming here, it can’t be more exciting than the event we will witness on Thursday at the Mannenberg when we launch our five albums.”
“Besides Zimbabweans playing marimba and Mbira there are also people from other countries that play the same instruments,” he said.
A representative of the Matanho Project said the idea of a multiple CD launch was mooted in December last year and will feature several Americans and a Senegalese who were tutored on the traditional instruments by the Mbira dze Muninga crew.
A representative of the Matanho Project said being in Zimbabwe has always been her organization’s dream, having assisted several local Zimbabwean musicians visit the U.S.
“When Zimbabwean musicians come to the (United) States, they are teaching us. So this is a good example of what they taught us, what we have learned and done together,” said Cathy Crystal who also plays Mbira and Hosho.
Cathy and her colleagues- Karin Tauscher from Oregon and the Washington based trio of Dana Moffat, Rose Orskog and Donita Crosby will partner with their Zimbabwean counterparts in when the group plays songs from the two albums- Tiringeiwo and Shamwari Muninga. Other CDs to be launched are a solo album, Rovambira, by Micah Munhemo, Muninga and Sungano by Mbira dze Muninga.
The Matanho Project has assisted several local groups such as Afro-acoustic group, Bongo Love, Maungira eNharira and Mbira dze Nharira tour the U.S. in the past. During the tours, the groups teach interested Americans how to play local music as well as learn some instruments in the U.S. cementing longstanding cultural ties between the peoples of Zimbabwe and the U.S.