Chimuka

New Zealand,

Bio

Marimba music has been played in the Nelson region since 1997. Chimuka, based near Motueka, is the only group playing this music in the South Island. The group is directed and taught by Russell Matthews, who was previously musical director of the Golden Bay marimba band Mweya.


We are an eight-piece band consisting of seven marimbas (bass, baritone, tenors, alto and sopranos) and a pair of hosho (shakers) and we play mostly acoustically.

We are mainly a dance band; the music is very infectious and we have had people dancing in most unlikely circumstances. The sound has a broad spectrum of context though, and sits happily in an ambient surrounding as well, where people can mostly listen and enjoy the intricacy of the music.


The music itself has been adapted for marimba from the mbira (thumb piano) of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, who have developed this instrument and its music to a high degree of sophistication. With intricate polyrhythmic cyclic melodies the music has a powerful uplifting quality capable of connecting people to a childlike sense of joy and delight, which is one of the main reasons we enjoy performing this music.

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