Makandire Muzani's perspective in Zimbabwean Traditional Unity Music:
Yes, We do offer workshops in both African singing, drumming and dancing.
In Dancing and drumming workshop- You learn how to connect the Zim-traditional movements.
Music tradition in Zimbabwe
What we share.
Music in Everyday tradition
-Baby welcome - Serina huya nemwana tibereke.
-Work - Mombe mbiri, Ho la la ho
-Wedding - Muroora tauya naye, Mombe dzangu dziya-Pfende
-Death - Chamunengwa
-Music, identity and Religion
-Vadzimu - Mhondoro (Mediums), Musango ndodzungaira
-Ethnic diversity - MaNcube
-Mission - Mai vakabereka Jesu
Dance has been used over the ages as an expression of the deepest aspects of life, of the dancer's relationship with the Earth, the animal and plant kingdoms, and, perhaps most importantly, the connection with the Divine. In tribal societies dance is a natural means of communication: it expresses joy, sadness, love and hate; it instills power in the invading tribe; it pleads with the gods to provide food, rain, sun; it celebrates all the meaningful stages of life: birth, poverty, initiation, marriage, death.
The various dance routines that have been handed down from one generation to another are a valuable form of communication. They tell a story, express emotions and ideas. It is critical that we remember that dance is as old as human existence. Dance might actually have been the earliest mode of human communication. Birds and other animals communicate with each other through dance during mating. Children express their anger through dance or stamping of their feet in quick succession when crying. The Shona people use dance to demonstrate their agricultural activities, for example. The Muchongoyo war dance and Dinhe labor dances express the activities of the community. Prior to colonialism, many intertribal took place, and the Muchongoyo dance evolved to capture the experience of war.
Other traditional dances are meant for entertainment during social gatherings. The JERUSAREMA and MBAKUMBA fulfill this role in Zimbabwe. However, the traditional Shona have been very religious throughout their history. The MHANDE, DYUKWA, SHANGARA, TSOTSA dances express religious ideas.
Outdoors dance and Indoor dance associated with ancestral spirit. Outdoor with leisure.
A SUMMARY OF THE TRADITIONAL DANCES OF ZIMBABWE
ManLuckerz concentrates on dancing styles from the general Southern Africa area. We have also adopted dances from Zimbabwe’s provinces. Each province has its own dance. Some of the dances we perform are as follows (click on the names to go to its description):
This is the prime dance of the Karanga people of Masvingo Province. It was traditionally performed after harvest and is still danced for entertainment purposes. The main movement of the dance is JEKECHERA, which means a poly-rhythmic dance. It is accompanied by a single, seated musician playing two short, pitched drums with his hands and by songs in solo-chorus and response. The male and female dancers often put on skirts of furs hanging from the waist, and the men wear pointed fur hats and both sets have rattles (magagada). The dancing is accomplished by men and women entering the dance space alone, in pairs, or in small groups.
During an active session, dancers may also include leaps and forward and backward steps. When the men and women are divided into two lines, they pass through each other and then turn to face one another once again during the time for rest. The dance tells of different social activities in life. Two couples dance, the women carrying a reed basket or clay pot on their heads and rattling the instruments tied to their calves. It is normally performed outdoors for recreational purposes.
The origins of MBAKUMBA are hard to locate. It is probably an ancient dance amongst the Karanga. Its association with CHIRIMO, a period for slowing down after the harvest, is significant. The Karanga have traditionally emphasized the need to give human beings and nature time to rest and recover. The Chisi day illustrates this trend. When MBAKUMBA emerged, it was to celebrate the coming of restful days and to entertain the communities.
The vigorous dancing style indicates the celebration of life as well as the value of physical fitness in a community with little technological help. The communal participation
in Mbakumba illustrates the importance of group solidarity for the Karanga. The dance is for the entire community and no one is discriminated against. African philosophy says, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE; one is closely linked to all other members of the community.
The participation of women in MBAKUMBA also points to the special place of women in traditional dances in Zimbabwe. Women are not prevented from participating in dances; they are in fact allowed to get to the dance floor and express their artistic abilities.
MBAKUMBA is an example of a Zimbabwean dance in which life is celebrated and the values of the community are clearly shown. It captures the vibrancy of life for a rural people.
A dance performed by old people for the ancestral spirits when asking for the rains.
Found among the Korekore. Associated with the beer in honor of the ancestors. People dance in the kitchen, where the beer for the ancestors is placed in a raised platform, CHIKUVA (shelf). The dance style is individual, with acrobatic moves as well. This dance has a lot of war movements.
It is a dance mainly for the youths, used to celebrate the arrival of a daughter-in-law or at a wedding and ceremonies such as appeasing the ancestral spirits. Jiti is a fast-paced, recreational type of drumming and dance.
This is a social dance found in the country, particularly in central Mashonaland. It refers to fast rhythmic footwork by one or two people at a time within a circle of gathering of other participants and observers. There is often mbira and hosho accompaniment. The name of Shangara creates a happy, versatile, and expressive nature, with good business judgment and a fine sense of responsibility, which should enable you to establish congenial relationships in positions of trust where you are dealing with the public.
Played in the evening by ladies as a way of expressing their feelings to their husbands.
A courting dance used to demonstrate the artistry of the forefather. The dance is used to display such things strength and flexibly. It’s done throughout the year and was mainly done by man doing to please their partners.
It’s a hunter's dance originating from Bikita and Chipinge districts. The songs are sung by hunters before going into the bush and danced to by elderly men and women.
This is a social dance originating from the eastern border town of Chipinge (Ndau) and also performed by the Shangani people/tribes, dressed in traditional regalia known as "zvihlabhu" and "zvichakati". It was performed in preparation for war and after a victorious battle. It is a competition dance in which the winning prize is a designed cloth. The cloth rotates among the winners whom in turn brew beer to convene a competition.
A dance adopted by Zimbabweans from Malawi. It is used by women to provoke men. It’s like a parading dance after which men choose their would-be partners.
A dance performed by the Ndebele people. The dance shows elements of strength, which is likened to that of a crocodile.
A dance performed by Nebula warriors to celebratethe victory. After a successful raid, there is a celebratory party would be thrown and this is one of the dances performed. It is a war dance that demonstrates fighting skills.
A dance performed at night by men and women of marrying age. It is performed in pairs any time of the year. The dance is basically an exhibition of sexual prowess. The women show their flexibility while the men show their strength. Individual men and women boast of their sexual prowess and challenge each other to a "contest". They then dance the sexual encounter and, more often than not, the men are defeated by their mates and they stagger away, ashamed of themselves.
Picture by Zimba Marimba.
This dance was done as a means of communication with the ancestral spirits. They use this practice to help lost "soul parts" return home, and bring about the ecstasy of spiritual wholeness. It was performed by elderly people when confronted by problems.
Picture by Eva Elings.
SUMMARY AND CONLUSION-
The presentation highlights the significance of music and dance to traditional societies in Zimbabwe. It locates the social importance of dance in the cultural life of the Shona people. The various dances communicate enduring social values and historical experiences of the people in this Southern African nation. To know the history of the various dances and the context in which they are performed is to go a long way in unlocking the people's way of life. As they dance, the Shona people will be acting out their identity, hopes and fears. Studying dance is therefore a useful way of approaching African culture.
Ngoma mutumba/Big drum, Ngoma diki/Small drum
Picture by MMM Music ZIMFEBI.
DRUMS- The drums have a social sound and where there is drumming there is dancing, festival, last mourning, wedding, beer-drinking, etc, this does not go without drums. The dancers dance to the drums, it is not a vice visa. The drunning at a dance is the orchestra and the varied rhythms and tones of the drums lead the dancers. Drumming is by itself a separate art form, it needs no other instrument to sustain the interest. It is as for as an art form, complete in itself. Zimbabwe drumming is essentually harmonious, it is harmoniously composed, not of notes but of rhythms.
The drumming needs at least two drums, better three, sometimes four. Zimbabwe drumming is composed of a number of different rhythms played simultaneously. Further more the main beat of the second drum is crossed with the other. The result is that the dancer gets evry muscle in his body movements.
Add to that hand clapping to superimpose a new and different rhythm, a song also with its own peculiar rhythm, and finally the dancers and you have a full orchestra and a perfect harmony. Great drummers play different rhythms in many styles with their own names and does not sound but speak. There are so many different types of drums in Zimbabwe.
Mbira in Shona Culture
Mbira in Shona Culture Mbira (the name of both the instrument and the music) is mystical music, which has been played for over a thousand years by certain tribes of the Shona people, a group which forms the vast majority of the population of Zimbabwe, and extends into Mozambique. Mbira is desired for the general qualities it imparts: peaceful mind and strong life force.
To find out more, please click on the links below:
• History of Mbira • Mbira Singing • Mbira Instrument
History of Mbira
Photo by Zim cultural promotions
Mbira pervades all aspects of Shona culture, both sacred and secular. Originally its most important function was as a "telephone to the spirits", used to contact both deceased ancestors and tribal guardians, at all-night ceremonies. At these ceremonies, spirits of family ancestors (Vadzimu), spirits of deceased chiefs (Mhondoro), and the most powerful guardian spirits of the Shona (Makombwe) give guidance on family and community matters and exert power over weather and health. Mbira was required to bring rain during drought, stop rain during floods, and bring clouds when crops were burned by the sun. Mbira was used to chase away harmful spirits, and to cure illnesses with or without a traditional healer/herbalist (N'anga). Mbira is included in celebrations of all kinds, including weddings, installation of new chiefs, and, more recently, government events such as Independence Day and international conferences. Mbira is also required at death ceremonies, and is played for a week following a chief's death before the community is informed of his passing. At the grave (Guva) ceremony, approximately one year after a person's physical death, Mbira was used to welcome that individual's spirit back to the community. But due to the misuse of Mbira, nowadays it is difficult to archive the original role of Mbira which the old generation do the Mzilikazi & Mbuya Nehanda regime the most powerful guardian spirits of the Shona and Matebele people.
In previous centuries, court musicians played Mbira for Shona kings and their diviners. Although the Mbira was originally used in a limited number of Shona areas, today it is popular throughout Zimbabwe. The Shona Mbira is also rapidly becoming known around the world, due to tours by both traditional musicians and Zimbabwean electric bands which include the instrument.
Traditionally, vocals are added to the Shona musical mix by both Mbira players and listeners. Mbira song texts vary in length from a few words to lengthy poems. Texts may include both lyrics specific to a certain Mbira piece and lyrics, which may be sung with any Mbira piece. Some texts are ancient wisdom in "deep Shona," while others may be contemporary personal commentary on current events. Non-musical Shona oral literature such as proverbs (tsumo) and praise poetry (nhetembo) may be included in Mbira singing. Singing during the course of a Mbira piece may be a collection of "one-liners," a cohesive text, or both. Meaning of Mbira lyrics is often symbolic, and listeners interpret it in a variety of ways - which may or may not include the meaning intended by the singer. The Mbira singer enjoys great freedom of personal expression, both in text content and musical improvisation.
Shona traditional beliefs is that Mbira singing, and well as Mbira playing and Mbira dancing are inspired in the individual directly from the spirits.
The Mbira of the Zezuru group of the Shona people of Zimbabwe consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a gwariva (hardwood soundboard) made from the mubvamaropa tree (Pterocarpus angolensis). Although the metal keys were originally smelted directly from rock containing iron ore, now they may be made from sofa springs, bicycle spokes, car seat springs, and other recycled steel materials. The Mbira is usually placed inside a large calabash resonator (deze) to amplify it. A stick (mutsigo) is used to wedge the Mbira securely inside the deze. The Mbira is played with the two thumbs stroking down and the right forefinger stroking up. Either metal beads strung on a wire, or bottle tops or shells mounted on a metal plate, are placed on the lower portion of the Mbira soundboard to add a buzz which varies from a soft hiss to a tambourine-like sound. Bottle tops or shells are also mounted on the deze to increase the buzz.
The buzz is considered an essential part of the Mbira sound, required to clear the mind of thoughts and worries so that the Mbira music can fill the consciousness of the performers and listeners. The buzz adds depth and context to the clear tones of the Mbira keys, and may be heard as whispering voices, singing, tapping, knocking, wind or rain.
We are no longer using the bottle tops, because they produce a lot of distortions. We are now using the latest technology - condenser microphones - mounted on the wood to pick up the sound. Many different Mbira tunings are used, according to personal preference. The only requirement is that two instruments played together should generally agree in tuning. If the same sequence of keys is played, the music is considered to be the same Mbira piece, even if played on instruments tuned with completely different intervals. For example, the outlaw (gandanga) tuning, also known as mavembe (people with speech defects) tuning, has a different interval relationship between keys than the more common Nyamaropa tuning. The pitch of an Mbira is also a matter of personal preference, ranging from high to very deep. Each instrument has a range of three octaves or slightly more.
Shona culture is very polite compared to what a typical westerner is a.
Mangwanani, mamuka sei? Ndamuka Good morning.
Good morning, how did you wake?
I woke well if you woke well.
I woke well. Mangwanani.
Mangwanani, marara sei?
Ndarara kana marara wo.
Good morning, how did you sleep?
I slept well if you slept well.
I slept well.
Masekati, maswera here?
Ndaswera kana maswera wo.
Good afternoon, how has your day gone?
My day has gone well if yours has gone well.
My day has gone well.
Manheru, maswera here?
Ndaswera kana maswera wo.
Good evening, how has your day gone?
My day has gone well if yours has gone well.
My day has gone well.
Rarai zvakanaka -Sleep well
When meeting someone for the first time or after a long time has passed since you last saw them (days here, not hours).
Ndiripo (kana) makadiiwo.
Hello, how are you?
I am well if you are well.
I am well.
Mhoroi instead of kwaziwai is also common.
Ndiripo (kana) makadiiwo.
Hello, how are you?
I am well if you are well.
I am well.
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