MBIRA SHAKE-UP: Popular player ditches renowned group to form ‘explosive’ trio with females

File pic: Mbira

Chaka Gwedeza, a longtime member of the renowned mbira group Mbira DzeNharira, has left to form his own trio called Mbira Explosion with two female mbira players, Lioness and Magumbo.

Lioness, the spokesperson for Mbira Explosion, said the group was formed to provide variety for mbira lovers, not to destabilize other groups. She said the decision to branch out solo was an informed one made by musicians who wanted to express themselves independently.

Lioness noted that artists should take risks and go solo when ready, as she and the other members of Mbira Explosion have been itching for more recognition beyond their roles in Mbira DzeNharira.

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Mbira Explosion has already secured some performing opportunities, winning a permanent slot at Camp & Caravan Complex in Warren Park and a Saturday slot at Mereki shops. Lioness sees these as opportunities to be discovered.

The departure of Gwedeza, a longtime member of Tendayi Gahamadze’s Mbira DzeNharira, comes as he pursues a solo career with Mbira Explosion. To fill his spot, Mbira DzeNharira has brought in one of their academy mbira players.

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Mbira music has a large following in Zimbabwe, and Mbira Explosion aims to provide variety within the genre. While some may have questioned Gwedeza’s decision to leave an established group, Lioness credits him for having the courage to take a risk and form the new trio with her and Magumbo. The prospects look promising for Mbira Explosion as the group gains performing slots and exposure.

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