Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

America to Zim: Day 18

posted by Leila Z. on

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Today was the retreat's first mbira teaching day, with a familiar face: Caution Shonhai. He taught us "Hata yeMhute", a song I had already learned when I was at his place. But I got to learn a few extras and practiced playing and singing (we also learned some nice singing for it, both Caution's and some of what my friend Langton Bapiro sung to it when he was recorded a few weeks ago). I am excited to get both Caution's and Bapiro's recordings when they are released by MBIRA!

Yesterday was introduction day, featuring (Tute's daughter) Irene Chigamba. She taught hosho, dance, and singing for "Nyuchi" (we'll be learning an advanced version from her father later in the week). Irene is a force of nature! And a wonderful teacher. I am about the most hopeless case when it comes to hosho, and she got me closer to playing than anyone has in six years of reluctant hosho classes. I wanted to give up almist immediately, but Irene would not let me --- even to the point of putting her arms around me and moving my arms/wrists in the proper way. I'm still not ready for primetime, but perhaps ready for some practice on my new hosho with a CD! :)(Greg/Phil/neighbors, be prepared...)

I'm sharing a hut with two superstars of the Argentina mbira scene, Pablo and Hernan. It is giving me a wonderful opportunity to practice my very rusty Spanish (though Pablo's English is very good). I find that the facility in speaking is coming back fast (I even dreamed in Spanish last night), but there are now great gaps in my vocabulary that once were not there. I'll have to see how much of that missing vocab returns with practice -- maybe not unlike the excavation of long-forgotten mbira parts that I like to do at mbira camp?

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