Transformations in Zimbabwean Traditional Music of North America

  • Author / Creator
    Muparutsa, Tendai
  • Zimbabwean traditional music of North America has gone through notable transformation since its arrival over 40 years ago. The world has been dominated by a patriarchal view of itself in general, but as I observed and mingled with people, I witnessed a male- dominated music practice in Zimbabwe switching to a female-dominated practice in North America. The participation of women, business adventures, instrument building and camps have inspired this research. These are key transformations that are not common in Zimbabwe itself. In North America by way of comparison, people of all races, and women in particular, have become active in making this music. For generations, social and cultural limitations have slowed Zimbabweans’ musical development, women’s participation in traditional music performance, and music learning. As this music established itself in North America women have assumed leadership roles as they participate in large numbers. The Zimbabwean music community in North America has seen the rise of private marimba centers. Kutsinhira, Kutandara, Rubatano, Musango among others are some of the leading centers. There are other organizations and individuals who have made a mark in the transformation of Zimbabwean music. I discuss the music scene in Zimbabwe that is traditional, church-based, and popular and how these styles have evolved and transformed in North America. I discuss the attraction of the music, how it has spread in North America, and why. As a male Zimbabwean musician, seeing women perform is a significant step forward. Qualitative research methods were used to collect data. I traveled to multiple communities, festivals, and camps throughout North America, where I worked with participants, attended concerts and performed with bands. My research shows that in North America, more women are involved in performing, teaching, and listening to Zimbabwean music, a transformation on its own. Zimbabwean music of North America has also changed in the process, not sonically, but rather it has adopted new meanings and contexts. Furthermore, they have implemented ways of benefiting from the music other than only performing it.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Robinson, Kathy (Department of Education)
    • Campbell, Patricia, S. (Departments of Music Education and Ethnomusicology, UW USA)
    • Gier, Christina (Department of Music)
    • Qureshi, Regula (Department of Music)
    • Thompson, Guy (De[artment of History and Classics)