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Virginia Mukwesha

b. Zimbabwe. The daughter of the mbira player Stella Chiweshe, Mukwesha’s debut album of 1993 displayed much of her parent’s influence, but also managed to position itself astutely within Zimbabwe’s ever evolving musical context. Closest in style to the jit or imported South African kwela tradition, Ferai featured both traditional instruments such as the hosho, marimbas and percussion, as well as electric guitar and kit drums. This highly commercial marriage, on one hand redolent of the Bhundu Boys at their 80s peak, nevertheless maintained the style of authentic roots edge frequently associated with her mother. A 14-member band backed Mukwesha on the recording, allowing both tangents to be fully explored, often to captivating effect on tracks such as ‘Ndin Wenda’ and ‘Susan’, the former a mighty rhythmic piece, the latter an almost unaccompanied arrangement of complex vocal passages. Mukwesha’s subsequent recordings have seen her gradually embracing mbira tunes, culminating in 1996’s Matare. Since then she has flitted between jit and mbira both on record and live on stage with her band Jiti Dance Express.
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Selected Discography

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Track List: The Essential Guide To Africa

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