Album of the Month – March 2021

Stella Chiweshe - Ambuya!

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The timely remastering of this album released 33 1/3 years ago is a celebration of a woman who has championed the Mbira and Shona Zimbabwean culture for more than 50 years.

Ambuya? Was Chiweshe’s international breakthrough debut album in 1987, and for the last 5 decades has continued to release numerous albums and toured extensively with her Earthquake band and in more recent years as a solo.

Chiweshe, now 74, and lovingly known as the ‘Queen of the mbira’ had to learn the metal pronged instrument against a backdrop of critics; deemed by the Shona as a spiritual sacred instrument, reserved mainly for ceremonies and only played by men. She also had to learn away from the eyes of the oppressive colonial British rule who discouraged any act of traditional Shona culture.

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Chiweshe has recently created the Chivanhu Centre in Harare, a project dedicated to the continuing teaching of the mbira and Shona culture. It’s an assurance her legacy will continue for a while longer.

The re-release by Piranha records has included a BBC Radio 1 John Peel session from 1988, recorded with the popular Balkan band at that time, the 3 Mustaphas 3 and there is also a title change – from Ambuya? Meaning grandmother? to Ambuya!
An affirmation that she is also the ‘grandmother of the mbira’.

Month – March 2021
Artist – Stella Chiweshe  ( Zimbabwe )
Title – Ambuya! (Remastered)
Label – Piranha Records
Genre – Roots/Mbira


Albums of the Month

Calabash! The UK’s African Music Guide is an online magazine and events guide dedicated to African music happening in the UK.

New African Album releases

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