One of the few women to play the mbira, Chiweshe was taught to play by her mother's uncle in 1963 or 1964. In 1974, she had to borrow an instrument in order to record her debut single. In the two decades since, Chiweshe has recorded more than twenty singles. In addition to performing as a soloist, Chiweshe performs with the Stella Chiweshe Mbira Trio and the Earthquake Band. According to World Music: The Rough Guide, Chiweshe “has provoked some criticism for her avant garde mixture of sacred and commercial music, a controversal issue in a country where music is so close to the spiritual centre of life”. Partly based in Germany, Chiweshe performs mostly outside of her native land. A talented actress and dancer, Chiweshe is a member of the National Dance Company Of Zimbabwe and is known for her portrayal of national hero, Mbuyo Nehanda.
Fans of Stella Chiweshe's hypnotic style won't be disappointed by Talking Mbira, since she delivers plenty more of the same throughout. The mix of mbira, or thumb piano, with marimbas, creates a jogging, mesmerizing bed of sound for Chiweshe's storytelling Shona vocals, which remain filled with politics. She's a spiritual, visionary woman who seems to rely on her senses to create nothing less than magic. The revelation on the disc, however, is "Chachimurenga (Future Mix)," which ups the pace a little in a kind of Zimbabwe dub, and the sprightly bass work of Sabah Habas Mustapha. The production, by Hijaz Mustapha, brings in plenty of reverb to take Chiweshe's song to another dimension and heighten the impact – at least to Western audiences more familiar with Jamaican music than the raw sounds of southern Africa. While it's the most accessible and the overall sound makes it stand out, don't be fooled – everything else here is just as powerful.» (AMG)
Official site: http://www.stellachiweshe.com/
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