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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Anna Mudeka
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Musician: Anna Mudeka

Location: Norwich, Norfolk

Instruments: Mbira / ngoma / voice

Music: Zimbabwean

Listen  Listen (3'19) to Anna Mudeka play 'Ndega'

Listen to Anna Mudeka in the World on Your Street tent at WOMAD 2003

'The group split up in 2000 and I went back to doing traditional music. It just gives me more energy!'

How I came to this music:

I grew up in Harare in a family where music was always encouraged, so we all learnt to sing and dance at an early age. So when I started school my sisters Patience and Mutsa and I joined the traditional dance group there. On leaving school we started working with a traditional dance group called Idwala Elikhulu (A Big Rock).

After about two years we had a chance to work with the late Ephat Mujuru in 1993. We went to Japan with him and when we came back we were headhunted by Thomas Mapfumo. I was with him for about 8 months in 1994, after which I came to England. In Zimbabwe there are many people in the music business and it's quite male dominated, so I needed to go somewhere and test myself and improve my confidence. I formed an Afro-fusion band called Baba Simba ('father of power').

The group split up in 2000 and I went back to doing traditional music. It just gives me more energy! I formed another group called Svikiro ('spirit medium'). A lot of Zimbabwean musicians like Thomas and Ephat have used the mbira sound with electric guitar, but I decided to started using acoustic guitar along with ngoma and mbira. We've worked on a production which is based on dances from all the different countries in Southern Africa, like Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and of course Zimbabwe.

Where I play:

Anna MudekaIn 2001 we toured all over the country, absolutely everywhere. In places like Yorkshire, the music is just so much in demand. London hasn't got that feel any more. I had an opportunity to play outside the U.K. this year, in Holland and Italy. But it all fell through, basically because I didn't have a red passport. It just brought out so many complications that in the end it was better to just start again when the opportunity comes again. In the meantime I just play arts centres and theatres in this country.

A favourite song:

A favourite is Ndega. And that means 'alone'. It's a song about dancing on your own. Like I don't have friends. And the dance we use for it is when we are calling for rain from the ancestors, which is called Mhande. We've had a few occasions with my group in Zimbabwe where we've played it and it's actually rained. Which is amazing. And I've managed to do it once here, too. But maybe that was a coincidence! Mhande is quite an old spiritual Shona dance where people get possessed. They talk to the ancestors and the spirits. There's no mbira, just voice and ngoma.
Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

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