Zambuko Marimba is the unexpected result of a Motueka Arts Council Winter Workshop series offered in 2015. Bridgit Knowles, a former member of long running Chimuka, directed by Russell Matthews, was invited to offer a six week workshop. Four years later we call ourselves Zambuko, meaning bridge in the Shona language. We like the idea that we are a bridge from the former group, and also the concept of bridging this cultural aspect of Zimbabwe and the Shona people with the West.
The primary instrument for the Shona is the mbira, also known as the thumb piano. The main expression of this music in the West has been the marimba, in the African style. Marimba, an ancient word meaning “many tongues” attempts, to a degree, to simulate voices creating an intricate polyrhythmic weave, rhythmically anchored by the hosho (gourd shakers) player.The songs are for dancing, meditating or both; for connecting to one’s ancestral heritage and for uplifting and nourishing the spirit.
Russell has also imparted his knowledge and respect with Zambuko for this music he was gifted from the Shona of Zimbabwe, and we too embrace the importance of understanding that this form is the heart and soul of the Shona people.
Zambuko, as a group all recognise how the experience of this music that is undeniably joyful and simultaneously soulful has enriched our lives. We are also discovering the joy of sharing this unique music with the public.