...and a spectacular marimba band that completely stole the show...I know who I'll call if I ever plan a blowout rockin' big bash.” - Joan C


...Dr. Ric Alviso, a teacher professor at California State University Northridge, has been studying mbira music since 1994. In 2000, the Masanga Marimba Ensemble evolved from a class he was teaching. “Masanga” is a word in the Shonalanguage meaning a coming together of roads or rivers and it is meant to represent “the coming together of Zimbabwean and American cultures.” The CD consists of nine songs of which five are traditional or based on traditional material from Zimbabwe, and two others are composed by Dumisani Maraire, a well respected Shonamusician who also released an album on the Nonesuch Explorer label. The music at times is exciting and full of energy. At other times it is introspective and hypnotic. Always the rhythms are strong; and the melodies are deceptive in their appearance of simplicity that hides a wonderful intricacy as the overlaying parts interweave in a marvelous interplay of melody and rhythm. The singing is rich with harmony and the voices are melodious. I most enjoy the tracks where melody lines come in gradually and eventually build the to the rich polyphony and overlaid rhythms which are so characteristic of Zimbabwean music. This is beautifully illustrated in Marenje where the marimba skillfully captures the flavor of the interweav- ing of the individual mbira melodies. In Chipindura, the actual playing of mbira is delightfully presented in its pure form with understated singing which allows the instrument to shine through with its gossamer ringing tones. The one piece which is not from Zimbabwe, Kapotso, has a distinctive Caribbean flavor and could practically pass for Steel Drum music from Trinidad until it moves into a sweet harmonious chorus...” - Mark Gilston


Waka Waka, from our newest Record, "Shvakanaka"

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