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Pulses of the Mbira

The Williams College Department of Music will present a concert of mbira music from Zimbabwe on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 3 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. Opening for Magaya and Dyoko are members of the Zambezi Marimba Band under the direction of Prof. Ernest Brown. This free event is open to the public.

This dazzling afternoon of mbira dza vadzimu (mbira of the ancestor spirits) will be performed by two masters of the instrument, Beauler Dyoko who is  known in Zimbabwe as the “Queen of Mbira Music” and is Zimbabwe’s first woman mbira recording artist and Cosmas Magaya who is leader of the mbira ensemble Mhuri yekwaMagaya.  He is also an internationally recognized mbira player and mbira teacher.

Dyoko is leader and featured singer with the popular contemporary mbira ensemble, The Black Souls, and has regularly been invited to perform a traditional song to open the Zimbabwean Parliament. She has also performed with Mhuri yekwa Rwizi/Soul of Mbira groups for many years in Zimbabwe and throughout the world.

Dyoko is also a spirit medium, an herbalist, fashion designer, and teacher of traditional Shona cooking. She is an active member of organizations promoting women musicians in Zimbabwe, and has written original songs in support of AIDS awareness and non-violence. She is the sole supporter of a large extended family of grandchildren, nieces and nephews in Zimbabwe.

Magaya has been an avid student and player of mbira dzaVadzimu from the time he was eight. Mr. Magaya is a master of the instrument, having studied with many great players. He has performed with the renowned Mhuri yekwa Rwizi mbira group for over 25 years, participating with them in concert tours of Europe and the US. He was instrumental in the writing of Paul Berliner’s The Soul of Mbira in the 1970s, and continues to work closely with Dr. Berliner as a consultant on Zimbabwean music.

Opening for Magaya and Dyoko are members of the Zambezi Marimba Band under the direction of Prof. Ernest Brown.