MBIRA - the non-profit organization devoted to Shona mbria music

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Erica’s Blog

What’s New On The Site?

The MBIRA Organization

About MBIRA
Erica Azim
Activities
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Workshops and Lessons
    Mbira Camp
    Enrollment Form
    Getting an Mbira
    Pointers for Mbira
        Students
    Tuning Your Mbira
    On Teaching

Event Calendar

The MBIRA Catalog
    Mbiras with DVD
    Student Series DVDs/CDs
    Mbiras
    Mbira Accessories
    Downloads & CDs
    Discount Downloads
    1985-2001 Downloads
    NEW RELEASES
    Zim Music/Dance Videos
    Favorites/Gift Guide
    Library Packages
    Mbira Piece Intensives
    Marimba Recordings
    Books
    Sculpture
    Shirts
    Search the Catalog
    About the Catalog

E-mail: info@mbira.org

Mbira Music
    The Instrument
    Shona Mbira Music
    The Role of Mbira
        in Shona Culture
    Mbira Singing
    Mbira Healing
    Njari

Musician Biographies

Mbira Makers at Work

Tips on Zimbabwe Travel

Links
    Other Resources
    Kit To Link To Us

    BUY MBIRA DOWNLOADS & CDS OR
    AND SUPPORT OVER 250 ZIMBABWEAN TRADITIONAL MUSICIANS.


    Buy mbiras of many tunings. If you don't play yet, get an mbira with the First Mbira Lessons DVD.

    10 instructional DVDs available on this site - 6 new ones just released!

    2014 Workshop Schedule: See Event Calendar

    Master mbira maker and mbira player Fradreck Mujuru is here in the US!!! He will be on tour in the US August-September 2014. See his tour schedule in CA, NY, MA, OH, KS, MO, FL.

    Downloads of archival mbira recordings 1985-2001 (90 min. and more per album) - we are adding more of these all the time!


    Sign up for MBIRA email list

    Support kids learning mbira in Zimbabwe - Donate today and mark it 'Zim Kids', so 100% of it will buy instruments for schools in Zimbabwe.


    See our mbira videos


    What is MBIRA - the organization?

    MBIRA is a non-profit organization that celebrates and helps to sustain the ancient musical traditions of Zimbabwe.  MBIRA supports Zimbabwean musicians and instrument makers, and their families, through worldwide Zimbabwean music education, recordings, and performances.  In a country with 95% unemployment (Nov. 2010), this provides critical support in the daily struggle for survival.  MBIRA has also created the largest archive of Shona mbira music in the world, which is a permanent resource for generations to come.

    About Erica Azim, Director

    During MBIRA's 1st 15 years, our sales of field recordings generated over $200,000 for 249 Zimbabwean musicians, and our sales of mbiras generated over HALF A MILLION DOLLARS for 19 Zimbabwean instrument makers.

    A gift option:


    "MBIRA helps people make a living while preserving their culture - it's not charity, it's an investment in culture."
    --Chiedza K.


    What is mbira - the instrument?

    Zimbabwe's mbira shown below is a primary traditional instrument of the Shona people, and has been played for over 1,000 years at religious rituals, royal courts, and social occasions. It consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard and is usally placed inside a large gourd resonator (deze). The keys are played with the two thumbs plucking down and the right forefinger plucking up.

    Click to hear an mbira duo on Bangidza. (MP3 format).


    What is mbira - the Zimbabwean musical tradition?

    A Shona mbira piece consists of a basic cyclical pattern which includes numerous intertwined melodies, often with contrasting rhythms. The extensive possibilities for rhythmic and melodic variation render each performance unique. When two mbiras are played together, the interlocking parts result in rich polyphony and polyrhythms.

    A traditional repertoire of hundreds of pieces is transmitted from generation to generation, and pieces popular today are known to have been played over 700 years ago. At traditional Zimbabwean ceremonies (mapira), ancestors are called by performing their favorite songs; thus, the same pieces are retained in the repertoire over the centuries.

    MBIRA, Box 7863, Berkeley, CA 94707-0863, USA, tel (510) 548-6053, email info@mbira.org