Zimbabwean Mbira Ensemble
Tony Perman, director
The mbira is a handheld instrument with metal keys played with the thumbs and right index finger played in the Shona community of Zimbabwe. In our ensemble, students will focus on playing this instrument, but will also learn how to sing in the appropriate style and play the hosho, a set of gourd rattles, as their interests take them. There is no written music and everything is learned aurally. The primary goal is to learn the specifics of technique and style for this instrument and to play as a group. The mbira is a participatory instrument and is rarely played solo, thus the rewards of collective music-making are emphasized. The mbira repertoire is a rich body of songs dedicated to the ancestral spirits for whom they are played. Learning to play the mbira with others can be a rewarding musical and social experience that will hopefully last longer than your College career.