Stella Chiweshe (Zimbabwe) & The Polyversal Souls
Sunny Side Up 2017
Stella Chiweshe & The Polyversals Souls is the exclusive collaboration of 71-year old Zimbabwean thumb piano legend Stella Chiweshe with one of Berlin’s hottest young bands!
Her Majesty – The Queen of Mbira music from Zimbabwe – like Stella Rambisai Chiweshe is affectionately called, is the first female artist who gained in prestige and has been honored with recognition in a music tradition that’s been dominated by men: in Mbira music – known as the backbone of Zimbabwean music. The mbira consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard and is usually placed inside a gourd resonator. The keys are played with the two thumbs plucking down and the right forefinger plucking up.
She is one of the few musicians in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, who since more than 40 years is working in the role of traditional Mbira musician. She is a well respected and important woman in the music business too, where bands perform at festivals, in theaters, churches, schools, community halls as well as in families homes for their ancestors. She set an example for the rest of the women musicians in Zimbabwe. She is a professional artist, in the entertainment industry and on the international music circuit. In Zimbabwe, she released more than 20 singles of Mbira music of which her first single Kasahwa went gold in 1975.
After Independence, she was invited to become a member of the original National Dance Company of Zimbabwe, where she soon took the part of a leading Mbira Solo player, dancer, and actress. Her work will always be remembered. Her Solo work has established herself as one of the most original artists in the contemporary African scene using mbira music to show the depth and power of her traditional spiritual music at home and abroad.
Chiweshe’s experience has been stimulating her to introduce Mbira music to the occidental context without loosing the relation to her Zimbabwean tradition. Since then she has won several awards in her country. In 2003 the University of Zimbabwe honored her with the Masters Degree in Arts.
Stella Chiweshe started to perform solo in ceremonies around Zimbabwe in the early 70es.
The Polyversals Souls
The Polyversals Souls is the latest project of former Whitefield Brothers and Poets Of Rhythm-drummer Muggy Whitefield (né Max Weissenfeldt).
Max was also prominently featured on Dr. John’s grammy-nominated last album “Locked Down” and has been drumming up a storm for artists as diverse as Lana Del Rey and Embryo. Next to that Weissenfeldt is an acclaimed arranger and producer, mostly releasing music on his own Philophon label, the “Home of 101st Century Soul Power!”
In 2014 The Polyversal Souls traveled to Algeria for a nationwide broadcasted concert at the capital’s famous Algerian Radio Auditorium and twice to Ghana to tour the country with Philophon artists Guy One and Alogthe Oho Jonas. That included even a live performance at a nationwide broadcasted TV-program in front of 4.000 frenetic listeners.
In 2015 they played Roskilde Festival and released their much-lauded debut album “Invisible Joy”.
The Polyversals Souls’ music is a melting pot spanning from Ethiopian melodies to West-African polyrhythms, from sweet whispers to relentless urban groove attacks: All in all their performance is a life-celebrating 21st-century soul ritual.