Chiwoniso, Zimbabwe's bright new star, is touring in support of her new album Rebel Woman, which was released by Cumbancha on September 2nd. Making stops at major festivals and select clubs, the tour is Chiwoniso's first in the US and Canada. With powerful new material and a band of top Zimbabwean musicians, including members of her illustrious musical family, Chiwoniso's performances will uplift audiences and serve notice that this gifted singer and songwriter merits recognition as one of Africa's greatest young talents.
In recent months, Zimbabwe's political and economic turmoil has thrust the turbulent African nation into international headlines. Based until recently in the capital city of Harare, Chiwoniso has lived in the eye of the storm, observing firsthand as her beloved homeland struggles to overcome the enduring legacies of colonialism, war, social inequality and political oppression. A devoted advocate of free speech, human rights and social justice, Chiwoniso's music gives voice to the voiceless and speaks to the problems and joys of the world around her.
While her musical influences range from soul and R&B to reggae and rock, the entrancing sounds of the mbira serve as a central underpinning for the songs on Rebel Woman. Originating in the ancient Shona civilization of southern Africa, the mbira is a musical instrument made of metal tines attached to a wooden board. The player plucks the tines with their thumbs to create captivating interlocking melodies, which have accompanied ceremonies and celebrations for countless generations.
Recognizing that artists play a special role in society, she believes they must not be afraid to speak out against injustice. "We have a responsibility. We are not bankers, we are not doctors, we are not nurses. We have another part that we play in society that must be done. So, regardless of whatever world system is going to come in and say: 'Cut what you are saying', going to send riot cops in to your shows, going to come and arrest you and say 'We are going to try and put you in jail...' — it doesn't matter. We have a responsibility."
Chiwoniso Fall '08 Tour Dates
9/25 Santa Cruz, CA Kuumbwa Jazz Center
9/26 Berkeley, CA Ashkenaz
9/28 Eugene, OR Cozmic Pizza
9/29 Seattle, WA TBC
9/30 Los Angeles, CA Temple Bar
10/1 San Diego, CA TBC
article submitted by:Simeon Chapin, Cumbancha