Ephat Mujuru & the Spirit of the People - Mbavaira
Ephat Mujuru became Zimbabwe’s foremost mbira player during the nation's war for independence in during the 1970's, when the traditional thumb piano (often made with flattened bed springs clamped tightly into a slab of Mubvamaropa wood) took on an important political significance to those fighting for freedom from the colonial British Rhodesian regime, whose educators and religious authorities had stigmatised traditional African music.
Under the tutelage of his grandfather, who was a respected spirit medium and mbira master, Ephat showed an early talent for the rigors of mbira training, playing his first possession ceremony when he was just ten years old. By then, guerilla war was engulfing the country and his grandfather Muchatera tragically became a victim of the violence.
When the war ended in 1980, Ephat threw himself into the spirit of independence, singing of brotherhood, healing, and unity: crucial themes during a time when the nation’s two dominant ethnic groups, the Shona and the Ndebele, were struggling to reconcile differences. Ephat’s band would eventually follow the popular trend and add electric instruments, but before that, he and Spirit of the People released two all acoustic albums, and they may well be the most exciting and beautiful recordings he made, perfectly capturing the energy of the first years of independence. Mbavaira, the second of these albums, was released in 1983, and, long out-of-print, until now it has never been made available outside of Zimbabwe.
Kuenda Mbire [05:48]
Nyama Musango [05:19]
- CD housed in gatefold card jacket 7mm spine
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