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The Mbira: An African Musical Tradition

Author: Mahealani Uchiyama  

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PRODUCT INFORMATION

Description

An introductory guide to the mbira: the spiritual traditions, historical perspectives, and practical applications of a sacred Zimbabwean instrument. In an overview of the history, spiritual significance, and cultural origins of the mbira, teacher and student Mahealani Uchiyama offers readers a foundation for understanding the roles, function, and spiritual resonance of a sacred Shona instrument. The mbira--made of a wooden soundboard and hammered metal keys--is both instrument and practice. It can be played solo or accompanied by singing, percussion, or other mbiras, and is a foundational part of Zimbabwean musical culture. As a spiritual practice, it brings worlds together: it connects the world of healing with the world of entertainment, and bridges the world of the ancestors and the world of the living. With 32 black and white images and a comprehensive glossary of terms, Uchiyama helps readers understand: The mbira code of conduct, how the mbira is played, and an overview of the lamellophone instrument family The spiritual, historical, and cultural significance of the mbira within Zimbabwe, and its role in interconnection, community, and connection to Spirit Cultural appropriation and commodification, and how to mindfully approach and respectfully learn from a culture that's not your own How the mbira can be a connection point for readers who have been forcibly severed from their ancestral cultures, and help them reconnect to African roots, wisdom, worldview, spirituality, and ancestors

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Critic Reviews

“"As she is one of the few female African Americans who play mbira, it is really important to hear [Mahea Uchiyama's] perspective of mbira and how it has worked in her life." --From the foreword by Patience Chaitezvi Munjeri, Gwenyambira "This is an important introduction to Zimbabwean mbira music for those from other continents. If you are attracted to mbira music, but are unfamiliar with its history and cultural significance and perhaps wonder whether it's really OK for you to play it, this book will answer all your questions!" --Erica Azim, executive director of MBIRA (mbira.org) "Mbira music and its culture teaches us to embrace our ancestors and tap into the spiritual richness that lies within ourselves. This book will take us on this magical journey." --Sheree Seretsem director of the Anzanga and Zambuko Marimba Ensembles, Seretse African Music Collective, University of Washington "Mahea highlights a compelling perspective and outlook into the discovery of the mbira music culture and that of the Shona culture. A must-read for those on a journey to understand their ancestral lineages through the powerful mastery of mbira music. Well done!" --Laina P. Magaya, a.k.a. Piwai, award-winning recording artist, percussionist, and Gwenyamibra "I wholeheartedly recommend Mahealani Uchiyama's book for western mbira students, beginners and experienced players alike. She takes a holistic approach to learning the music and its place within Shona culture rather than just breaking down the musical sounds. Central to her perspective is wise commentary on our roles as westerners in engaging with Shona music, pointing out that 'True respect for the mbira and its rich heritage must begin with an acknowledgment of the long history of Western peoples consuming, modifying, and decontextualizing artifacts and practices of other peoples.'" --Claire Jones, PhD, Zimbabwean Music Festival Coordinator”

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About the Author

MAHEALANI UCHIYAMA is an award-winning dancer, musician, composer, choreographer, recording artist, teacher, and author. An advocate for cross-cultural understanding, she is the founder and artistic director of the Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance (MUCID) and director of the Polynesian dance company Halau KaUaTuahine, with whom she has toured internationally. Uchiyama's unique perspective on the mbira is informed by her status as an initiated priestess of Ifa, a spiritual tradition of West Africa. Having studied Shona music for over a decade, both locally and in Zimbabwe, her work with the mbira has been recognized by the City of Oaklands Cultural Funding Program, which sponsored her to teach the music and tradition of the mbira to Oakland residents. She is the former President of the Board of Directors of World Arts West and the current Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, as well as, Vice President of MBIRA the Non Profit. She is the author of Haumana Hula Handbook for Students of Hawaiian Dance .

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Product Details

Publisher
North Atlantic Books,U.S.
Published
14th September 2021
Pages
128
ISBN
9781623176495
$30.51
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