Southburgh Festival of World Music

African Marimba Music was honoured to be invited to give workshops at this year's Southburgh Festival of World Music - and what a great day it was! The sun was shining bright and the festival was full of friendly smiles and enthusiastic people! We worked on three songs on the marimbas over the three workshops - and these included Mangwane Mpulele from Botswana, Ekwanongoma from Zimbabwe, and Cha Chimurenga, a cover by Stella Chiweshe from Zimbabwe. We played and sang and had a great time! A big thanks to the festival organisers for having us. We hope to be back again next year!

Southburgh Festival of World Music - Marimba Workshop with Otto Gumaelius

ZimFest Paris

African Marimba Music has just come back from a lovely long weekend in Paris where we got the opportunity to teach and perform at the inaugural ZimFest Paris. The weekend was all about cultural music from Zimbabwe, even though we of course snuck in some material from Botswana, where Otto, founder of African Marimba Music, comes from.

On offer were marimba, mbira and dance workshops, which included elements of singing as well.

On day one of the festival, workshops started off bright and early at Théâtre de Verre. That evening, the teachers and other collaborators came together to give a lovely concert of traditional music from Zimbabwe - performed on mbira and marimbas, accompanied by drumming, singing and dancing.

On day two, the students mainly focused on solidifying all they had learnt the day before, and in the afternoon they got the chance to perform for one another and showcase some of what they had learnt.

It was such a lovely weekend in Paris with a beautiful mix of cultures and people from all walks of life coming together through music.

ZimFest Paris - Marimba Workshop

African Heritage Residential Weekend

Our teaching took us up to Kettering today, where we had the great honour of working with teenagers of African heritage, most of whom were born here in the UK, or moved here when they were very young. We shared some folk songs from Zimbabwe on the marimbas, and got to sing and dance a bit as well.  

 Together with some of the organisers and mentors. From left to right, Rumbi Mukoyi, Saba Getty, Otto Gumaelius & Dumi Senda

Together with some of the organisers and mentors. From left to right, Rumbi Mukoyi, Saba Getty, Otto Gumaelius & Dumi Senda

 Our lovely office for the day :)

Our lovely office for the day :)

Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

African Marimba Music spent the day in Coventry at Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day. We shared some marimba songs with the young children and had a general jam towards the end of the afternoon with some of the attendees who grew up playing the marimba in Zimbabwe. These are always the best parts of these days out - meeting people who haven't played or seen a marimba in many years, and being able to give them the opportunity to reunite with the instrument and the songs. 

In the evening we got the pleasure of performing an hour long set for the attendees at the culture day event, before joining Stella Chiweshe on the stage. We performed two of her songs with her - Cha Chimurenga and Huya Uzoona. 

Here are a few pictures and videos from the day.

 Mini marimba workshop at Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

Mini marimba workshop at Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

 Combined marimba & dance workshop

Combined marimba & dance workshop

Steph & Ben's Wedding

Playing marimba music amongst the tropical plants of the Barbican Centre's conservatory felt very right! Unfortunately not much of the conservatory is visible in the picture, but this was definitely one of the coolest weddings African Marimba Music's events band has had the privilege of playing at this year! Warmest congratulations to Steph & Ben!

Marimba Band - Barbican Conservatory Wedding

Grassroot Soccer World AIDS Day Charity Gala

Every year in December, more than 300 stars, footballers, philanthropists, and leaders in business and media come together at the Grassroot Soccer World AIDS Day Gala in London to support the Grassroot Soccer charity's work to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people in challenging circumstances to live healthier lives.

Our events marimba band had the honour of providing southern African entertainment during the welcome drinks reception of the evening.

Duduetsa African Marimba Band - Grassroot Soccer World AIDS Day Gala.JPG

Battersea Power Station Midnight Run

African Marimba Music Workshop London

In August we had the honour of being a part of The Midnight Run - a walking, arts-filled, night-time cultural journey through a city. It gathers strangers and local artists/activists to explore, play and create whilst the city sleeps.

Here's a highlights video of the Battersea edition of the Midnight Run, which African Marimba Music's founder took part in as a workshop leader. Highlights of the marimba workshop are near the end of the video.

Star & Obie's Wedding

Last night we had the honour of entertaining at Star & Obie's beautiful wedding in Kent. In the video below you can see us warming up the wedding party with the sounds of the southern African marimba! We're playing a popular southern African gospel song called Avulekile Amasango. Warmest congrats to Star & Obie on their union!

South African Heritage Celebrations in Wimbledon Park

South African Diaspora UK hosted a lovely get together in Wimbledon Park this past weekend to mark South African Heritage Day, also known as Braai Day.

African Marimba Music had the honour of taking part and got to give a small performance, after which we set up the marimbas on the side and let the kids have a go too.

Afrotake Media put the following short video together to cover some of the day's events:

Marimba Workshops At ZimFest Live London

African Marimba Music spent a lovely day at Kempton Park Racecourse giving marimba music workshops at this year's edition of ZimFest Live. The organisers did a stellar job putting on the festival - and the live music acts were all really good! Everyone was in great spirits and it was all round a fantastic day! Here are a few pictures whilst setting up that morning - and a highlights video below.

African Marimba Music Workshops at ZimFest with Otto Gumaelius
African Marimba Music Workshops at ZimFest with Otto Gumaelius

Zimba Marimba International Marimba Camp

What a weekend it's been working with lovely young musicians from Sweden, Norway, Iceland and England - and working alongside a wonderful teaching team of African cultural arts practitioners from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Guinea, The Gambia, France and Sweden! We've returned to London with a thoroughly nourished soul after all the beautiful music and dancing!

The camp started off on Friday afternoon with a round of workshops, before we all gathered in the main concert hall for an evening of live music led by the workshops teachers. There was mbira music, sabar drumming, kora, and of course, marimba.

The camp then continued on Saturday morning with a full two days of workshops. Below you can see a picture of where we were doing our teaching.

 My shared office with Erik Noresson for the weekend

My shared office with Erik Noresson for the weekend

We had a lovely two days and worked with a total of 8 groups - ranging from young children to young adults. Below you can see a clip of one of the songs the group from Iceland learnt. It's a folk song from Botswana called Silang Mabele.

On Sunday afternoon, all the student groups got to share some of what they had learnt over the weekend. The oldest group closed the concert with a lovely Mhande-rhythm song from Zimbabwe called Cheke. It's an mbira song arranged by Jacob Mafuleni for the marimba, and the song is about crossing the river. 

For more information about marimba workshops, camps and performances in Sweden, visit: www.zimbamarimbaband.com

 Photo credit: Buffan Walter

Photo credit: Buffan Walter