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Full Band -
Zimbaremabwe, led by Linos Wengara is a live band playing Zimbabwean traditional music, as well as Mbira Reggae.
Zimbaremabwe carry the torchlight for Zimbabwean traditional music in the UK. We perform as an acoustic style ensemble, traditional acoustic instruments, percussion and voice.... but also run a modern full band, with a full complement of electric instruments (electric guitars, bass, drumkit, alongside Mbira). This full band style, often referred to a 'Chimurenga' music, was made popular by artists such as Thomas Mapfumo, and the Four Brothers. We bring to the stage a fast paced and distinctive genre of music, unique to Zimbabwe. It is rich with singing melodic guitars, complex polyrhythms and a perpetual heartbeat provided by the bass drum.
But we don't stop at traditional authenticity, we also play other styles such as Mbira Reggae, Rock & Funk.... partly because we also enjoy this music, but also to showcase the flexibility of the Mbira instrument of Zimbabwe. Mbira is a very spiritual instrument with a complex musical repertoire, but is also capable of being adaptable to many musical styles, and we think this kind of fusion is a valid way of uplifting the appreciation of the instrument. We often feature both genres in our sets.
We are based in Brighton, UK but we like to travel. We've performed at many of the big festivals, Shambala, Alresford, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Solfest, Off the Tracks..... and played loads of events, both large and small. We hope to see you at a gig one day. Zimbaremabwe.
.... we are often asked about our name, Zimbaremabwe. The original spelling would be Dzimba dze mabwe, which means great house of stone describing the still standing stone city, oft referred to as 'Great Zimbabwe'. (Zimbabwe is a further contraction of Zimbaremabwe). This city was a place of great trading, culture and spiritual activity, and it seemed like an inspiring name to carry.
Acoustic Set -
Sometimes the sound of Mbiras, ngoma (congas), percussion and vocals is appreciated. It could be for the acoustic sound - Mbira is quite special to listen to, and we have captured many an audience with the intricate patterns and harmonies. The acoustic set works well for smaller more intimate settings, but can also work well for a large attentive audience. We will often begin a full set by playing in a couple of acoustic style tunes, to introduce a new audience to the sound of Mbira.
The Zimbaremabwe Sound -
Related artists in the Chimurenga genre: Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited; the Four Brothers; the Bhundu Boys
Zimbabwean Chimurenga music is quite unique, however with the singing guitar melodies and steady fast paced rhythm, it may be compared to styles such as Highlife. Our Reggae music draws influence across the spectrum from soulful masters such as Bob Marley through to Richie Spice and Dancehall.
Linos Wengara Magaya - Biography
Linos Wengara Magaya grew up in a spiritual family in Zimbabwe and learned the Mbira and its cultural ways through participation and playing in many ceremonies and in cultural life. He also found himself on a path as a Svikiro (spiritual healer) and devoted his energy to developing this. Being very musically motivated, he was also leading a band by his early teens. They played and toured many parts of Zimbabwe and were the opening act for Thomas Mapfumo for a period around 1995. Linos made connections and found the opportunity to travel abroad, seeing this as a way of furthering his musical career, and furthering the band.
Linos became a resident in the UK, and continued to develop his path as a musician and spiritual healer. During this time he and the band have played numerous shows, and also supported some big acts such as Oliver Mtukudzi, and the Wailers. Linos and the band are prolific songwriters and composers and have a substantial back catalogue of recorded music, largely in the Chimurenga style, but also acoustic style Mbira. They also ventured into popular music territories with Mbira Reggae and have plans to produce an album exploring the possibilities of Mbira in combination with popular music styles (both as an instrument, and the structures of Mbira music).
Musically Zimbaremabwe play a variety of traditional acoustic style sets, as well as full band electric sets. Linos is well regarded as an Mbira teacher and has worked in universities such as SOAS, and recently Goldsmiths, where he trained Music students to perform as a Chimurenga ensemble. Zimbaremabwe also make Mbiras and have created teaching resources for Mbira students, to support the learning process. Linos Wengara also has an important role to play representing Zimbabwean spiritual culture in the UK and has a busy practice, offering spiritual healing, and cultural advice to Zimbabweans.