Monday, July 19, 2010

Amazing day of African music in New York: Chiwoniso

Chiwoniso’s Rebel Woman hardly ever got taken off of our CD player in the months after it was released (Sept 2008), so it was a treat to finally see her live and in person. Continuing the mbira theme started by Garikayi Tirikoti and picked up by Konono no 1 later in the day, Chiwoniso combined traditional mbira sounds and rhythms with pop and even jazzy flairs as she drove the band through her classic hits. It was great getting to see the seats in front of the bandshell finally start to fill up—standing near the front of the stage it felt like a packed house. People danced in the aisles, moved by Chiwoniso’s music and spirit. The percussive quality of all of the instruments mirrored that of her mbira, from the drums to the keyboard: it was hard not to tap a toe, even if the heat of the afternoon sun made many moving want to melt!

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