At the Studio cover

At the Studio

Released

The members of the Zonke Family — Anthony “Matomati” Zonke, Chief Boyi Nyamande and Crispen Zonke — are among the last cultural bearers of the matepe mbira from the northeastern region of Zimbabwe. “At The Studio” is their debut album, and one of the few to capture the traditional music of the Marembe people. Listening to their compositions it’s hard to imagine that incredibly intricate, contrasting rhythms and melodies come from one instrument alone — a musician can play several rhythmic and melodic lines at the same time, giving the impression that there are multiple people playing. The eight tracks are renditions of traditional songs, but interpreted quite freely by the three musicians. For the Zonke Family preserving the matepe tradition doesn’t mean freezing it in time, but adapting it and keeping it alive. 

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

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