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The Mbira by Mahealani Uchiyama
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The Mbira

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The Mbira by Mahealani Uchiyama
Paperback $14.95
Sep 14, 2021 | ISBN 9781623176495

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“As she is one of the few female African Americans who play mbira, it is really important to hear [Māhea Uchiyama’s] perspective of mbira and how it has worked in her life.”
—From the foreword by Patience Chaitezvi Munjeri, Gwenyambira

“This is an important introduction to Zimbabwean mbira music for those from other continents. If you are attracted to mbira music, but are unfamiliar with its history and cultural significance and perhaps wonder whether it’s really OK for you to play it, this book will answer all your questions!”
—Erica Azim, executive director of MBIRA (

“Mbira music and its culture teaches us to embrace our ancestors and tap into the spiritual richness that lies within ourselves. This book will take us on this magical journey.”
—Sheree Seretsem director of the Anzanga and Zambuko Marimba Ensembles, Seretse African Music Collective, University of Washington
“Māhea highlights a compelling perspective and outlook into the discovery of the mbira music culture and that of the Shona culture. A must-read for those on a journey to understand their ancestral lineages through the powerful mastery of mbira music. Well done!”
—Laina P. Magaya, a.k.a. Piwai, award-winning recording artist, percussionist, and  Gwenyamibra

“I wholeheartedly recommend Māhealani Uchiyama’s book for western mbira students, beginners and experienced players alike. She takes a holistic approach to learning the music and its place within Shona culture rather than just breaking down the musical sounds. Central to her perspective is wise commentary on our roles as westerners in engaging with Shona music, pointing out that ‘True respect for the mbira and its rich heritage must begin with an acknowledgment of the long history of Western peoples consuming, modifying, and decontextualizing artifacts and practices of other peoples.’”
—Claire Jones, PhD, Zimbabwean Music Festival Coordinator

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