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Home Brewed Mbira

Zuzana Novak

Indies Scope / 2008
Genres: acoustic, ethno, folk, world music
MAM432
CD € 8.54
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MP3bitrate 256-320 kbps € 3.54
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ABOUT

A singer and mbira player - the sacred plucked instrument that can connect you with spirits of your ancestors. Born in England, daughter of emigrants from former Czechoslovakia, in love with music from distant Zimbabwe. Perhaps the only white woman in the world, who has ever actively participated in the whole-night bira rite of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, played in the hypnotic rhythm of mbira.

Zuzana lives in Yorkshire. She plucked mbira for the first time at her friends and in that moment she gave in to its sound. During her geography studies at SOAS in London she met the respected player Chartwell Dutiro, who taught culture of the Shona people and who became her mentor and teacher.

In 2001 she visited Zimbabwe for the first time. There she met lots of musicians and singers, who invited her to a spiritual ceremony.

“We played to soothe an anxious spirit who possessed a just-married woman and caused problems in her marriage. The ritual went on till late night and I lost notion of time. In the early morning there was a short break and one of the older musicians asked me whether I really played or just pretended that I pluck lamellas with my hands hidden in the gourd. I knew Bangisa, the song to welcome the daybreak. It’s a very demanding and hallowed song and suddenly I was to play it in front of the gathering. My fingers were cut to blood after playing all night, but I felt no pain. Everybody listened to me and finally the eldest ones gave a verdict: we respect you, now you are one of us. At the end one of the singers came to me and asked me whether I would want to marry her son and stay in the village!”, says Zuzana Novak about her music debut.

The world discovered her thanks to Ian Anderson, editor-in-chief of fRoots music magazine, who enrolled her song Nhemamusas on the fRoots prestige quarterly sampler in January 2007.

Today Zuzana Novak gives concerts around whole Europe, famous Charlie Gillett from BBC radio recommends her to his listeners and Peter Gabriel invites Zuzana to his world-famous WOMAD festival.

In the Czech Republic, where she comes back regularly to visit her sister and grandfather, Zuzana performed for the first time in 2007 on the Folk Holidays festival in Náměšť nad Oslavou. Concert was recorded on July 24, 2007 within the Folk Holidays festival in Náměšť nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, and released on album Home Brewed Mbira.

In Náměšť, the songs of the Zimbabwean mbira to praise the ancestors and a small man, who managed to overcome a big cow, made the astounded audience to seek the way out from this magic music for a long time after the tones quietened down; and if there is any way out at all.

Mbira dzavadzimu.

Sacred instrument of Shona people from Zimbabwe.

A baffle board is made of a dried gourd, inside there are metal reeds, sounded by thumbs of a player. The sound of mbira resembling human voice, whisper from the dark or the wind with rain has the power to free your soul of sadness and worries.


TRACKS

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