The Music


Our band joins together to play both traditional and contemporary African songs on marimba, mbira, drums and voices.  Teenager and adults join together to play this joyful music.  Kuungana itself is a Swahili word that means to connect or join rhythms.  Listeners often call this “happy music,” and people of all ages respond to it with enthusiasm and delight.

We in the band play this amazing music for the joy it brings to us and to the audience.  The lead marimba carries the musical storyline, the other marimbas carry the melodic patterns that weave through the song, and the traditional “hosho”, or gourd rattles, hold the driving beat.  It all comes together in a tapestry of music guaranteed to get you out of your seat and onto the dance floor

Our teachers have included Zimbabweans such as Sheasby Matiure, Kurai Mubaiwa, Alport Mslanga, Lucky Moyo, Abel Mafuleni, and…..

The biggest thrill is taking a song we have learned and making it our ours.  We add percussion, singing, movement and dynamic variations  to make listening and dancing to our music even more fun.


The Instruments

The instrument we use include: marimbas, hosho (gourd shakers), mbira, drums, whistles, the audience and vocals.



The hosho are traditional Zimbabwean rattles consisting of pair of gourds with hota (African lily) seeds.   These instruments help keep the beat.




The mbira is an ancient instrument with a long history of use in traditional ceremonies.

Staggered metal keys are attached to a metal soundboard.  Often, an mbira is played inside a deze, a big gourd which provides amplification. Bottle caps are often attached to the instruments to create a buzzing sound. There are a number of mbira types.  The one that we most commonly play is the mbira dzavadzimu which has 29 keys – arranged in two rows for the left hand and one row for the right hand.  A second type of mbira that we play is the nyunga nyunga – which consists of 15 metals keys arranged in two rows.   



The marimbas are hand crafted.  The keys are made of Padouk, Wenge and Mahogany, all very hard woods which produce beautiful tones.

Below each key is a resonating tube which amplifies the music.  In Zimbabwe, these resonators are often large gourds.  Our are make of PVC pipe and cardboard.  Each resonator has a buzzer, a vibrating membrane attached to it.  The buzz is thought by some to keep evil spirits away and adds a unique quality to the music.




We incorporate varied rhythm instruments as well.  Drums, clave, whistles, wood blocks and a cow bell all can supplement or replace the hosho.     

Phone  (360) 739-6801