15 Year Old Girl Takes Mbira By Storm

In recent years, foreign music and dance styles have overshadowed not just the visibility but performance of indigenous Zimbabwe music and dance styles. The dominance of foreign culture over local culture has been attributed to capitalistic mass media.

In addition to the media, the popularity of foreign culture in Zimbabwe can also be attributed to the high movements of the citizens to other countries in search of greener pastures. The people’s combined experiences have hatched a hybrid culture.

For youth the culture is reflected in their identical dressing, language and new musical styles Urban Grooves and Zim Dancehall. This Jamaican influenced popular youth culture threatens the continued existence of Zimbabwean indigenous music as its popularity is juxtaposed with yawning popularity of Zimbabwean traditional music.

However, all hope for the sustenance of indigenous musics is not lost as we have young people such as Tanaka Magazeni. At the tender age of 15, and currently doing her form 3 at Dzivaresekwa 1 High school, the affable Tanaka poses a wealthy of social intelligence.

Tanaka has an amazing awareness of the role the utilitarian role that music plays in society.  In an interview, she shared that her choice of traditional music was premised on the belief that besides being aesthetically appealing indigenous music has the power to sanction deviant behaviour as well as to celebrate humanity victories.

Tanaka is part of a band called Motherland Behaviour consisting of eight young adults, who include Ken Ndambakuwa, Nyasha Murada, Simbarashe Gwatidzo, Gladmore Bvuta, Albert Ndikuruve and Tinashe W Masangudza who is also the group’s mentor. Besides providing high end entertainment the group focuses on preserving the Shona language and culture through music and dance.

The band is aware that most of their peers do not like traditional music to counter that they have created an eclectic music which mixes traditional music with western popular culture musics.

Their latest release Dai ndishiri is a fusion of Hip hop and mbira music. The mix gives an undeniably urban Zimbabwean feel to music. Their use of live instruments is quite commendable.

Hopefully all the tracks from their yet to be released Album entitled Nziyo dze Moyo (songs from the heart) will follow suit. I also sincerely hope their hope that their efforts at re-invoking an interest in traditional dance among young people through the use of musical styles and genres which were popular among the target society will become successful. Otherwise, for now


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