Born in 1946 in Mujumi Village, Stella Chiweshe remains one of very few women to have mastered the art of mbira, a term that denotes both the traditional thumb piano and the musical language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Although the colonial regime and social conventions forbade it, she rebelliously and avidly absorbed the spirit and technique of this totem instrument alongside men in the intimacy of traditional ceremonies.
With Kasahwa, the Glitterbeat label presents a collection of singles acoustically recorded between 1974 and 1983, all heretofore unreleased outside of Africa, despite the fact that Chiweshe enjoyed an international career and was considered a national icon. Marked by the round timbre of the mbira and the indomitable voice of the musician, the album spins out these mystic songs like “telephones to the spirits” and chimurenga refrains presaging the Shona people’s fight for the independence of their country.
Stella Chiweshe, Kasahwa : Early Singles (Glitterbeat Records, 2018)