KARIMBA: THE SHIFTING BOUNDARIES OF A SACRED TRADITION
AbstractIn Zimbabwe, urban musicians and educators often perceive karimba as a category of relatively small mbira that are used for secular entertainment. This notion is strongly influenced by the prominence of the Kwanongoma mbira, or nyunga nyunga mbira, a 15-key karimba that was first popularized by the Kwanongoma College of Music in the 1960s. Despite a wealth of research, very little has been written about karimba traditions around the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border that are associated with traditional religious practices. In this article, the author focuses on a type of karimba with more than 20 keys that shares much of the same repertoire with matepe/madhebhe/hera music in Rushinga, Mutoko, and Mudzi Districts in Zimbabwe and nearby regions in Central Mozambique. The author explores the connections between innovations of the Kwanongoma mbira and karimba traditions in the Northeast with examples from the International Library of African Music archival collections and her own ethnographic research. This article provides a foundation upon which others may further conduct research on karimba music and suggests possible directions for incorporating these findings into educational contexts.
Blacking, John 1961 “Patterns of Nsenga Kalimba Music.” African Music 2 (4): 26–43.
Carver, Mandy 2012 Understanding African Music. Listen, Compose, Play, Learn. Grahamstown: International Library of African Music.
Jones, Claire. 1992 Making Music: Musical Instruments of Zimbabwe Past and Present. Harare, Zimbabwe: Academic Books.
Jones, Claire. 2012 “A Modern Tradition: The Social History of the Zimbabwean Marimba.” African Music 9 (2): 32–56.
Kubik, Gerhard. 1964 “Generic Names for the Mbira.” African Music 3 (3): 25–36.
Maraire, Dumisani 1991 The Nyunga Nyunga Mbira: Lesson Book One. Portland: Swing Trade.
Matiure, Sheasby 2008 Performing Zimbabwean Music in North America: An Ethnography of Mbira and Marimba Performance Practice in the United States. PhD Dissertation: University of Indiana, Bloomington.
Mutekwa, Trust 2017 Nyunga Mbira Handbook: An Enthralling Exploration of the 15-Key Mbira. Harare, Zimbabwe: Best Books.
Ngomani, Sharon 2016 “Zvirimudeze and the Tale of the Hybrid Mbira.” The Herald. http://: www.herald.co.zw/zvirimudeze-and-the-tale-of-the-hybrid-mbira/ [accessed 31 July 2018]
Scharfenberger, Angela. 2017 “The Power of the Fish is in the Water”: The Flow of Relationships in a Transnational Zimbabwean Music Community. PhD Dissertation: University of Indiana, Bloomington.
Tracey, Andrew. 1961 “Mbira Music of Jege A. Tapera.” African Music 2 (4): 44–63.
Tracey, Andrew. 1972 “The Original African Mbira?” African Music 5 (2): 85–104.
Tracey, Andrew. 1993 Mbira Catalogue. Independent publication.
Tracey, Andrew. 2015 “The System of the Mbira.” African Music 10 (1): 127–149.
Tracey, Hugh 1932 Carnegie Report: The Native Music of Southern Rhodesia. Independent publication.
Interviews by author and research team
Bandeira, Alec. Nyamapanda, Zimbabwe, 27 August 2017.
Chawasarira, Chaka. Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. 6 December 2016.
Mupadzi, Everisto. Mudzi District, Zimbabwe, 9 August 2017.
Nyamuhowa, Richard and Patrick Musa. Nyamapanda Primary School, 8 August 2017.
Nyamusangudza, Chikinya. Northeastern Zimbabwe. 26 June 2017.
Nyazvigo, Enochi. Tsonga Village, Zimbabwe. July 2017.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.