Stella Chiweshe

Accompanying her swooping vocals on mbira, a thumb piano consisting of metal strips set in wood, Stella Chiweshe has taken the traditional Shona music of Zimbabwe to the international stage. Chiweshe reached her largest audience when she joined Peruvian vocalist Susana Baca and Tex-Mex singer-guitarist Tish Hinojosa for the Global Diva tour in 1997. 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. ~ Craig Harris

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