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30 Days of Iconic Zimbabwean Jazz: Tsubvubone by Hope Masike

Hope's use of traditional acoustic instruments draws upon the musical legacy of pioneering Zimbabwe female musicians such as Chiwoniso Maraire. 

Award-winning Zimbabwean mbira and percussion player, singer, dancer and activist Ruvimbo Hope Masike’s music is a fusion of jazz, blues, samba and reggae. She is known as “The Princess of Mbira” and her music has its roots both in traditional and modern African culture.

Her use of traditional acoustic instruments draws upon the musical legacy of pioneering Zimbabwe female musicians such as Chiwoniso Maraire.

Her career thus far has been a successful mix of recording and performing artist, activist and teacher.

Hope’s greatest motivation is the desire to push traditional mbira, an instrument labelled ‘demonic’ during Zimbabwe’s colonial era, into new and contemporary spaces. She says it hurts her to see the mbira being tied down to obsessions with tradition or colonial mentalities that label it as pagan or unchristian. So, she has taken the mbira from traditional levels to higher levels by putting it into Jazz.

To date, Hope has had numerous collaborations, tours, and artistic expressions across a wide range of mediums. She has toured internationally, performing concerts and festivals throughout Africa, Europe, and the United States.

In May 2009, Hope Masike released her debut album titled ‘Hope.’

In May 2012 she released her second album ‘Mbira, Love, and Chocolate’. Off the same album, the track “Inyoni” calls upon African women to rise to the highest highs of politics, business, whatever aspects of life.

Last month, Hope dropped her latest single Tsubvubone, a sensual celebration (in song and poetry) of the dark-skinned people.

Recorded by Mono Mukundu at Monolio Studios and Erik Nylander at Monkeybar Studio, the video was directed by The Princess of Mbira herself.

Watch the video on YouTube. 

Reckon jazz is just for connoisseurs and is merely a niche genre these days? Then think again, for if it wasn’t for jazz, we wouldn’t have the blues or the myriad of different styles of music that have rocked our world ever since. Zimbabwe’s interest in and bond with jazz music is significant, and it has resulted in numerous outstanding works through collaborations between jazz and traditional musicians at national, continental and international level. All April long, #enthuse through our 30 Days of Iconic Zimbabwean Jazz series celebrates the heritage and history of jazz music and curates thirty songs by jazz pioneers and contemporary musicians who have successfully taken on the genre and defined a sound for the rest of the world to follow.

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller/Critic at Large in Culture at Enthuse Afrika

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