Stella’s repertoire stretches from straight classical pieces to bubbly uptempo jigs. The mbira ripples and chimes like a xylophone, and sounds remarkable galloping alongside shimmering guitars and pulsating drums. – Roots
When it comes to African music, we in our European music circles are mostly only privy, via short program texts and the like, to isolated, narrow-focused “ethnomusicological” expertise about traditional styles and global instruments. The music of Africa (and Africa is not a country!) is often considered as if through a magnifying glass; presentations of it are characterized by exoticization and fascination with the other and rarely classify it within the context of a global network of music and sound art. When Stella Chiweshe of Zimbabwe picks up the Mbira, an instrument that was forbidden under British colonial rule, the fluidity and unity of this network suddenly becomes obvious. Parallels to Steve Reich’s phasing, Eno’s ambient works, or Múm’s gentle lullabies reveal themselves as inversions—as pop-, avant-garde-, and cultural history reconnected and reinterpreted; after all, pop music is a global phenomenon defined by cross-references, coincidences, and sometimes arbitrary roots. Back to the main point: Stella Chiweshe is a real pop star. Since the early 1970s, her music, which has vacillated between Mbira trance and afro-pop, has earned her humble titles like “Her Majesty – The Queen of Mbira music from Zimbabwe.” For decades, as the most prominent woman in the male-dominated genre of Mbira music, she’s traveled the world with a voice and a lamellophon.
Stella is performing at St. Elisabeth Kirche on Thursday, November 9th, 2017.