BY BRENDA PHIRI (The Herald)
Mawungira eNharira have come a long way and are in a class of their own as far as mbira is concerned, founder, lead singer, composer and arranger Wilfred Mafrica has said. The “Nhovapasi” bass mbira player, who is known by his totem “Nyamasvisva”, spoke on the developments in mbira music.
“I have been doing mbira music for over 30 years but have been working with other groups for over five years. We have worked our way from scratch to create the Mawungira eNharira brand from the time that mbira music was not accepted by a lot of people. Mawungira rava dombo,” he said.
The Norton-based group whose sacred “mbira dzavadzimu” is significant in Shona religion and culture displays deep knowledge of idioms. This in turn brings a mystic quality to their sound.
“A lot of things have changed in our lifestyles but we are true to our roots. We now live in the city but for inspiration and identity I go into the wilderness to reconnect with nature. The lyrics I come up with are traditional but apply to the modern people too,” he said.
Speaking on competition that has seen other mbira outfits sprouting around the country, Nyamasvisva said he is happy the genre is growing.
“As elders in the trade, we are happy to see upcoming groups because mbira dzinotokura. Our group has actually contributed to that development because we do our best to mentor smaller groups,” he said.
He applauded upcoming groups Madhonza Makuru and Matendera Ekumabvira Zuva, who he said were capable of holding their own in the industry.
Mawungira eNharira have been in existence since 2005. They broke away from Mbira Dzenharira that was co founded by Nyamasvisva and Tendai Gahamadze.
To date, they have five albums “Mawungira”, “Chinamanenji”, “Ndodyiwa Nemakava”, “Nhoroondo” and “Hurongwa” with “Vhunza Mutupo” expected to be launched next month.