Screenings of two films – Soul Resonance (by American husband and wife team Laurel and Douglas Epps) and JazzTales (from Zimbabwian Albert Chimedza) – are taking place this month in Harare, Zimbabwe as part of the inaugural Mbira Month, a celebration of the traditional music instrument, the mbira / thumb piano.
Soul Resonance is a documentary that looks at the Zimbabwean mbira and marimba music in a way “many have never seen before’.
JazzTales features Zimbabwe’s mbira master Sekuru Gora (Thomas Wadharhwa) in concert alongside Chimedza’ multinational mbira ensemble, Gonamombe, and jazz musicians from all over the world.
At the time of the film’s shoot in 1997, Gonamombe included Sekuru Gora, Senegalese Mbalax music exponent Youssour Ndour, Danielle Seppe and a host of other musicians in concert.
The visually stunning and musically rich film has been screened in many countries over the years. About a year ago, the film raised €8,000 in a single screening for a rural hospital in Mutoko, Zimbabwe.
Harare-based The Mbira Centre has shared the screenings between the Alliance Francaise and the Zimbabwe Film and Television School of Southern Africa (ZIFTESSA).
From this year on, Mbira Month (every September) will celebrate the mbira in all its forms in all media.