Mapfumo and Masters of the Mbira

Yesterday we enjoyed the music of Thomas Mapfumo, one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved musicians. Mapfumo and other artists such Stella Chiweshe pioneered Chimurenga music, which has become the voice of a proud Zimbabwean people — “chimurenga” is the Shona word for “revolutionary struggle.” Chimurenga features the mbira, an ancient Shona thumb piano, and is known to follow mbira music’s 12 beat polyrhythms, breaking the 12 beats into either four measures of three beats each or three measures of four beats each.