Friday, March 21, 2014

Four Chimurenga Songs - Mbare Chimurenga Choir (Zimbabwe)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases four videos of Zimbabwean Chimurenga songs by the Mbare Chimuenga Choir.

The content of this post is posted for cultural and aesthetic purposes. I'm particularly interested in the tune & beat of the songs, the musical instruments used, and the dance movements shown in these videos. I'm also interested in the traditional clothing worn by the people in these videos.

DISCLAIMER: The presentation of these songs in this post should not be considered a reflection of support or lack of support for any political party or any political figure mentioned in these songs or shown on these videos.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to members of the Mbare Chimuenga Choir for their renditions of these songs. Thanks also to these video's publishers on YouTube and thanks to all those quoted in this post.

Chimurenga is a Shona word which means to fight or struggle. Traditionally, chimurenga or bongozozo is a fight in which everyone at hand participates. The word's modern interpretation has been extended to describe a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice. Thomas Mapfumo coined the phrase chimurenga music to describe his revolutionary music which evolved during Zimbabwe's struggle to gain independence in the early seventies…
Characterized by biting social and political commentary, third person political innuendo, Mapfumo has developed a style of music whose roots are traditional Shona mbira music, but played with modern electric instrumentation, a more modern message adapted to current social and political affairs, a sense of urgency and a cry for justice."...

...“Among [Thomas Mapfumo's] first and most significant initiatives with the group [he formed in the 1970s the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band] was to change the language of the songs from English, which was associated with the white-minority administration, to Shona, which was spoken by the majority of the country’s black population...

Again drawing from his experience with Shona traditional music, Mapfumo overhauled his group’s instrumental component. Now played with a percussive technique, the guitars were made to imitate the rippling, interlocking melodies of the mbira—specifically, those of the mbira dzavadzimu, the instrument used to summon the Shona ancestral spirits. The drum rhythms, meanwhile, evoked the stamping of Shona dancers’ feet, and the cymbals replicated the pulse of the hosho, the gourd rattle that provides a foundational rhythm and regulates the tempo for the mbira in traditional performance. For Mapfumo and his audiences, creation of this new style of popular music represented both a break from the colonial past and a source of empowerment.”...

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates with the oldest dated examples given first. These songs are presented without transcriptions.

Example #1: Mbare Chimurenga Choir - Nyatsoteerera

rmvembe, Uploaded on Oct 23, 2010

Example #2: Mbare Chimurenga Choir - Nyika Yedu

rmvembe, Uploaded on Oct 29, 2010

Example #3: Mbare Chimurenga Choir - Makorokoto

rmvembe, Uploaded on Dec 14, 2010

Example #4: Mbare Chimurenga Choir - MuZimbabwe

rmvembe, Uploaded on Jan 25, 2011

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