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Boomkat Product Review:
" Mbira music is one of the most ancient and popular forms of music found throughout black Africa. Its myriad forms constitute a contribution of unique richness to the world's music. The mbira has always been essential to traditional Shona culture and its players held in high esteem, providing music not only for entertainment but also for the most important occasions, ranging from the coronation of chiefs to religious ceremonies. Today, while mbira players are professionals by the nature of their commitment and skill, they often have to supplement their income through other vocations. Of the artists heard here, Mr. Mude is an upholsterer and businessman; Mr. Mashoko works as a catechist for the Roman Catholic Church; Mr. Kunaka is a skilled blacksmith and carpenter. The mbira is an instrument consisting of keys mounted over a bridge on a hardwood sound-board. Shona mbiras range in numbers of keys from eight to fifty-two. They are generally played inside large gourd resonators decorated with shells and (more recently) bottle tops. The gourds shape and amplify the sound of the mbira, and the shells provide a buzzing quality - an integral part of the music. A basic rhythmic accompaniment to the mbira is often provided by gourd rattles called hosho. In this album, four major mbira traditions are represented: the mbira dzavadzimu, matepe, njari, and ndimba. Their playing techniques range from the use of two thumbs to both thumbs and index fingers. We are greatly indebted to the performers, whose love of mbira and conviction that mbira music holds universal meaning made these recordings possible". PAUL BERLINER, 1973 .