Kunzwa Live! CD

On this page, you can find additional information about the 2019 Kunzwa Live! recording.  CDs and thumb drives are available at all of our shows.  You can also obtain the recording as a digital download at https://kunzwa.bandcamp.com/releases


Below are complete liner notes for the recording.


Hi, I’m Diga, Kunzwa’s musical director.  This music I learned from Michael Breez during the seven years he lived in Puna, Hawai`i.  Michael played and studied with Abraham Dumisani Maraire, a Zimbabwean man from the Shona culture.  “Dumi” came to the University of Seattle in the late 60s and early 70s to study ethnomucisology and to share his cultural roots in the West.  During his stay, he developed a unique marimba ensemble style through his catchy arrangements of traditional and village contemporary Shona songs, and his talented originating of many new pieces.  Dumi gifted this music to his students, urging that they maintain the integrity of the compositions and share the essence of the songs.

In Kunzwa, we do our humble best to re-transmit to you the beauty of this music, which so captured each one of us.  I have the great fortune to be a student of Michael Breez, who shares so deeply and thoroughly his understanding of this music.  A talented songwriter in his own right, this recording features several of his compositions.

Below are the songs on the recording, listed in order, with a full listing of which personnel play which parts.  I’ve attempted to impart my knowledge of the meaning of each song, although my understanding is significantly limited because of lack of direct exposure to the people and language of the Shona.  I received this music in the spirit of giving, and we impart it with the same spirit, always remaining ready to play for free at events cultivating or promoting the human change required to heal our world.

CHEMUTENGURE — traditional, arranged by Dumisani Maraire.  “Wagon wheel”, as in the sound of the wagons of the British colonists invading Shona lands, or as in the traveling merchant with his donkey cart moving from village to village.  

Lead—Ann Kobsa, S1—Ruben Guetschow, S2—Diga Kern, S3—Josiah Hunt, T1—Tracy Matfin, T2—Brandon Thompson, Baritone—Jasmine van den Heuvel, Bass—Arina Moriya, hosho—Lea Taylor.

MWEYA — by Dumisani Maraire.  Mweya means “spirit” or “breath.”  

Lead—Diga Kern, S1—Tracy Matfin, S2—Josiah Hunt, S3—Brandon Thompson, T1—Arina Moriya, T2—Lea Taylor, Baritone—Ann Kobsa, Bass—Jasmine van den Heuvel, hosho—Ruben Guetschow.

RUKUDZO — by Michael Breez.  Rukudzo means respect, including the acknowledgment that any tradition or elder may have shortcomings and flaws, but nonetheless still deserves genuine respect.

Lead—Ann Kobsa, S1—Lea Taylor, S2—Tracy Matfin, T1—Brandon Thompson, T2—Diga Kern, Baritone—Arina Moriya, Bass—Jasmine van den Heuvel, drum kit—Ruben Guetschow, hosho—Josiah Hunt.

AMOXOXO/RAINFOREST  — by Alport Mhlanga.  Amoxoxo is literally, “song of the frongs.”  Musasa Marimba Ensemble was inspired by Mhlanga’s song, and in mostly one session, originated Rainforest together.

Lead—Arina Moriya, S1—Jasmine van den Heuvel, S2—Lea Taylor, T1—Tracy Matfin, T2—Brandon Thompson, Baritone—Ann Kobsa, Bass—Diga Kern, kit/block—Ruben Guetschow, hosho—Josiah Hunt.


Lead—Diga Kern, S1—Jasmine van den Heuvel, S2—Tracy Matfin, S3—Josiah Hunt, T1—Arina Moriya, T2—Brandon Thompson, Baritone—Ruben Guetschow, Bass—Kaika Welch, hosho—Lea Taylor, hosho/djembe—Ann Kobsa

JABBERWOCKY — by Stan Sitnik.

Lead—Arina Moriya, S1—Diga Kern, S2—Lea Taylor, T1—Tracy Matfin, T2—Josiah Hunt, Baritone—Ann Kobsa, Bass—Jasmine van den Heuvel, drum kit—Ruben Guetschow, hosho—Brandon Thompson.

DUMISANI — by Michael Breez.  A tribute to his teacher.

Lead—Diga Kern, S1—Ruben Guestschow, S2—Tracy Matfin, S3—Josiah Hunt, T1—Ann Kobsa, Baritone—Arina Moriya, Bass—Jasmine van den Heuvel, hosho—Lea Taylor, block—Brandon Thompson.

KUPENGA — by Michael Breez.  This song was written as part of the score for a youth theater production of Alice in Wonderland.  Kupenga means “madness” and this was the music as Alice fell down the rabbit hole.

Lead—Jasmine van den Heuvel, S1—Tracy Matfin, S2—Josiah Hunt, T1—Ann Kobsa, T2—Arina Moriya, Baritone—Brandon Thompson, Bass—Diga Kern, drum kit—Ruben Guetschow, hosho—Lea Taylor.

 NJARI — by Dumisani Maraire.  “Njari” literally means “bad animal,” and speaks to the self-destructive part that each of us has inside, that should remember to keep an eye on.

Lead—Tracy Matfin, S1—Ann Kobsa, S2—Jasmine van den Heuvel, S3—Josiah Hunt, T1—Arina Moriya, Baritone—Lea Taylor, Bass—Diga Kern, djembe—Ruben Guestchow, hosho—Brandon Thompson.

SNOWBALL — by Diga Kern.  This song is about creating momentum for change.  It is a theme song supporting solidarity with the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

Lead—Ruben Guetschow, S1—Jasmine van den Heuvel, S2—Tracy Matfin, S3—Diga Kern, T1—Josiah Hunt, T2—Brandon Thompson, Baritone—Arina Moriya, Bass—Ann Kobsa, hosho—Lea Taylor.

MTWAMBUYA NDOTHEMA — This song literally translates as “cutting down the mother-in-laws tree.”  It speaks to rising to the occasion and maintaining resoluteness in the face of challenge or adversity.

Lead—Diga Kern, S1—Arina Moriya, S2—Josiah Hunt, T1—Tracy Matfin/Brandon Thompson, T2—Jasmine van den Heuvel, Baritone—Ann Kobsa, Bass—Lea Taylor, hosho—Ruben Guetschow.

SEKURU JO — by Dumisani Maraire.  “Sekuru” means “uncle”, so this Dumi wrote this song about one of his village elders, Uncle Jo.

Lead—Ruben Guetschow, S1—Diga Kern, S2—Jasmine van den Heuvel, T1—Arina Moriya, T2—Josiah Hunt, Baritone—Lea Taylor, Bass—Tracy Matfin, djembe/hosho—Ann Kobsa, hosho—Brandon Thompson.