Concert tour stops at Southern

Musekiwa Chingodza and Bud Cohen play in Webster Hall on Sept. 18.

Tracey Graves

Musekiwa Chingodza and Bud Cohen play in Webster Hall on Sept. 18.

Native Zimbabwean and long-time mbira player Musekiwa Chingodza brought the sounds of Africa to Missouri Southern’s campus Sept. 18.

Chingodza began playing the mbira at age five and has several CDs released in the United States and Zimbabwea.

The mbira is a traditional African instrument comprised of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a wooden board played with the thumbs and right forefingers.

Chingodza, accompanied by Bud Cohen, was brought in by Southern’s traditional African musical group, Kufara, to expose students to something beyond the typical.

Dr. Joy Dworkin, professor of English and member of Kufara believes exposure to international music offers more than just academia.

“Its educationally crucial given the international mission,” said Dworkin.

“It goes beyond being strictly educational in the intellectual sense, it gives more of a holistic education.”

In addition to the concert, Chingodza also visited Southern’s world music classes giving a firsthand look to students like junior German major Julie Ensor.

“I think it brings more awareness of what’s going on in the world, its so different from our own culture, I think its important to see and hear the difference,” said Ensor.

The concert tour has taken Chingodza to Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico and several others.

Chingodza supports a very open and friendly environment, spectators are encouraged to dance and clap to the beat.

At the same time Chingodza hopes the audience will learn about the music of Zimbabwe and the connection it has to the past and to the future.

“[the music] has a lot to do with our lives,” said Chingodza.

The traditional African instrument is believed to be more than 1,000 years old and is important to social gatherings, religious ceremonies and is considered a lifeline to the past.

“Our music is both medicine and food, as mbira has the power to heal and to provide for people. Mbira pleases both the living and the dead,” said Chingodza.