Zambezi Sounds, Canberra’s premier African dance music band, play a vibrant mix of contemporary and traditional African music. The mbira, known colloquially as the finger harp, thumb piano, gourd piano and many other names, is a featured instrument in the band.

Traditional Mbira Nights or “Bira” as they are known in Zimbabwe are very spiritual and special. They are seen as a celebration of the spiritual connection that people have with their ancestors and are held during the months of August to October soon after crop harvesting. They are also seen as a way of thanking the divine powers for the harvest. 

For this evening, the Zambezi Sounds traditional section will present a night of the Nyami Nyami (a Zambezi river god or snake spirit) mbira rhythms which form the basis of spiritual music in Zimbabwe. The band leader, Ben Mutandadzi, will be chatting about the origins of the mbira instrument and the different types of mbira in Zimbabwe and beyond and his own story of how he learnt to play the instrument. He will also discuss the conflict between spirituality and religion during the colonial era and how mbira music is viewed currently.

Need to sell tickets, or take event registrations?

Smith's Alternative
Contact information