Mbira gospel star emerges


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DESPITE initially facing resistance in the gospel music industry, award-winning artiste Sam ‘Legend’ Mutandachinga’s unique musical sound and style, is gaining traction among gospel music fans.

Mutandachinga, was recently honoured at the Zim Community News awards ceremony for amplifying the innate potentials of traditional instruments on the local gospel music landscape is also a philanthropist.

While locally the traditional instruments such as the African drum (ngoma) and rattles (hosho) are renowned, it is the (mbira) thumb-piano that has been lagging behind in the modernisation and diversification of traditional instruments in enhancing worship services.
Mutandachinga laid bare to ZCN the challenges mbira gospel as a new genre faces.

“Mbira has been abeyance as far as we have lived in gospel music, although it has been sometimes used as an accompanying instrument,
“I took the challenge of using mbira as the main instrument in my gospel music, the tag for mbira has always been for ancestral worship.”
Despite the fact that many churches and gospel artistes have shunned it, is determined to have the negative tag on mbira instrument removed
Everyone is free to use mbira in gospel just as any other instrument, he said.

“I also took the risk of the backlash that would come from family, church members and fellow Christians who still hold this tag on mbira, I said if playing mbira is not a sin before God then l will do it.”

Since the mbira is mostly associated with Shona language, he was using other local languages to break the ugly face of tribalism which was also present in gospel circles.

“I have so far done a mix of Ndebele and Shona, a full Ndebele only, Mbira is a Zimbabwean instrument , anyone should feel free to use it, the world celebrate it as Zimbabwean, lets embrace it as such, songs have been well received on Radio stations.

His negative experience in gospel music is not an isolated case, even during the genre’s early days when hand clapping and foot stomping was the rhythmic accompaniment, the introduction of flutes and drums harp or lyre in the eighth century was also despised.

In the thirteenth century, Medieval theologians such as Thomas Aquinas resisted the introduction of musical instruments, claiming that they move the soul more to pleasure than create a good internal disposition.

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