Stella Chiweshe


Stella Chiweshe is one of the veteran musicians from Zimbabwe whose music began before the country gained its independence. She was born on 8 July 1946 in Mhondoro Village. She is popularly known for playing mbira dzavadzimu. Mbira is a traditional instrument of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. She learned how to play the instrument from 1966 to 1969. In 1989, she featured in Godwin Mawuru’s ‘I Am the Future’. The film is about a young woman who relocates to the big city to prior to Zimbabwe's independence war in the rural areas.

From 1975 to 1978, she recorded more than 20 singles under the same company which were never promoted. In 1979, she established her band the Earthquake after the record company had refused to record Mbira. From 1981 to 1985, she became a member of the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe as Mbira soloist, actress and dancer. During that time she performed in Mozambique, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, India, China and Korea. In 1988, Chiweshe toured Europe with Earthquake Band and held shows in East Berlin for the Festival des Politischen Liedes, West Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.

In 1992 and 1993, she toured Greece, Germany and Turkey. In 1994, she participated in the WOMAD festival in the US, 1995. In that same year, she toured Europe again but this time she held performances in Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Hungary and Germany. In 1996, she performed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain and Ireland with her mother on percussion and the five musicians of her Mbira Ensemble. Her performances are much centered in Europe where she is based. She conducts these tours on a yearly basis. . In 2004 she and her daughter toured England. She is behind the establishment of an international women's music festival in Zimbabwe.

She has released a couple of albums namely ‘Ambuya’ (1990), ‘Kumusha’ (1994), ‘Kumusha Vol.1’ (1995), ‘Shungu’ (1997), ‘Healing Tree: Best of Stella Chiweshe’ (1998), ‘Kumusha Vol.2 Stella Chiweshe’ (1999), ‘Shungu Vol.4’ (2000), ‘Talking Mbira: Spirits of Liberation’ (2002), ‘Double Check’ (2006), ‘Chakandiwana’ - Stella Chiweshe & Michele Longo’ (2014).

DEBerlin, Germany


Stella Chiweshe
Profile added by Ano Shumba on 03 Jul 2015