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Rebel Woman

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 2, 2008
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$16.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Zimbabwe's Chiwoniso performs entrancing and uplifting songs with ancient soul and modern spirit. She is backed by the mesmerizing interlocking melodies of the mbira and the deep grooves of an all-star lineup featuring some of Zimbabwe and South Africa's top musicians, Chiwoniso's voice resounds with defiant strength and profound tenderness. With a sound that recalls the fire of Angelique Kidjo, the inspiration of Oliver Mtukudzi, the rebellion of Thomas Mapfumo and the soul of India.Irie, Chiwoniso has become one of the most exciting talents in African music today.

About the Artist

"I am like a mirror," declares Zimbabwe's popular music star Chiwoniso Maraire. "I basically sing about what I see happening in the world. If someone comes up to me in the street to ask for money I'll sing about that. If people are jumping borders because their economic situation is too difficult, I'll sing about that. If the police are beating people up and intimidating them, I'll sing about that."

While Zimbabwe's ancient musical traditions serve as the foundation of Chiwoniso's music, she is the child of a globalized world and her songs reflect her diverse, multicultural influences. Her late father, Dumisani Maraire was a respected scholar and musician, who moved the family to the United States in the 1970s while pursuing a degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Chiwoniso was born in Olympia, Washington in 1976,
and although she spent the first seven years of her life away from Zimbabwe, the music of her family's homeland was a constant presence.

"I was born into a very musical family, both my parents were musicians," Chiwoniso points out. "My father was an amazing mbira player, my mother was a beautiful singer, so I was surrounded by this music from the day I was conceived."

While Chiwoniso's musical influences range from soul and R&B to reggae and rock, the entrancing sounds of the mbira serve as a central underpinning for the songs on Rebel Woman. Originating in the ancient Shona civilization of southern Africa, the mbira is a musical instrument made of metal tines attached to a wooden board. The player plucks the tines with their thumbs to create captivating interlocking melodies, which have accompanied ceremonies and celebrations for countless generations. While variations of the mbira exist across Africa, it is an essential element of Zimbabwean music tradition and has a deep historical, cultural and spiritual symbolism.

In 1990, Chiwoniso's family made their second move back to Zimbabwe, and she quickly became a popular figure in the local music scene. Chiwoniso has spent the last three years working with producer Keith Farquharson on Rebel Woman. Recorded in Zimbabwe, South Africa, England and Vermont (where her record label Cumbancha and its partner company Charles Eller Studios are based), the album features some of Southern Africa's most respected musicians and an intriguing collection of guests. Louis Mhlanga, who has also recorded with Nigeria's King Sunny Ade, South African icon Hugh Masekela and others provides the albums tasty guitar licks. Zimbabwean Drummer Sam Mataure, a veteran of Oliver Mtukudzi's band, lays down his trademark rock solid rhythms, while saxophonist/flautist Steve Dyer guides a crack horn section. Meanwhile, members of Cumbancha's extended family, such as Idan Raichel Project percussionist Rony Irwyn, Belizean producer/guitarist Ivan Duran and keyboardist Charles Eller lent their services for cameo appearances.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 2, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cumbancha
  • ASIN: B0014GFHZW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,929 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Russell Mutingwende on July 29, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I can say with all earnest that it takes a good performance from an artist for a German public to clap along, a very good one for them to sing along (especially in a foreign African language) and only a truly excellent performance will convince them to not only sing and clap, but also to leave their seats and dance along! Last night Chiwoniso's rendition of her Rebel Woman album brought the house down in Frankfurt's leafy Palmengarten outdoor concert venue. From 7:30 until 10:00, the crowd were highly entertained. At 10:00, the concert came to an end, and despite wails of "zugabe", which is german for "encore", Chi and her band were not seen again on stage. Even Michael Jackson would be shut down at 10pm sharp,...this is Frankfurt after all!! ;)
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Format: MP3 Music
My only mistake was not buying the whole album to begin with! I came looking for her music after hearing Nguva Ye Kufara and falling in love with it. There are so many good songs here, you cannot go wrong! Listen for yourself and be amazed!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
RIP, Chiwoniso, miss you like crazy still..
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Format: Audio CD
"Rebel Woman" by Chiwoniso, Zimbabwean singer and mbira player, was sadly her last as she tragically passed away last year at a young age. It is an excellent album and it will go on giving joy to listeners for decades to come.
Her beautiful voice is front and centre, but the music is also superb. She plays the mbira (thumb piano) on most songs, while she is accompanied by accomplished musicians. The mbira sounds beautiful and uplifting. Louis Mhlanga's guitar work is a definite highlight. Some songs feature horns and a variety of percussion instruments can be heard across the album.
Most songs are in Shona, with a few in English, and helpfully a full translation from the Shona to English is provided in the CD liner notes.
Really well produced, and with not a poor song among the dozen on the album, "Rebel Woman" is a delight to listen to, over and over. I would strongly recommend this to anyone interested in African music, and particularly to fans of Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo (if they don't already have it).
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