Erica Kundidzora Azim

Mbira Dreams

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California resident Azim brings a unique interpretation to these mostly solo traditional mbira pieces of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. She accompanies her playing with quiet, almost whisper-like vocals that match the delicacy of her instrument, and the rasping of beads and shells attached to her mbira provides a nice counterpoint to the clarity of the individual notes. Zimbabwean music purists may not appreciate Azim's transformation of vibrant song-vehicles for the spirits into expressions of dead calm, and the music-box delicacy of her instrument can pass from dreaminess straight to sleep. Still, she interprets the material with integrity, and her transformation of the transcendental to the highly personal is totally up front. Mbira Dreams is available individually or as part of the Global Relaxation box set with three other discs.

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