NAFDA South – Atlanta 9/12/09

NAFDA South Flyer

Dear Friends,

This is a terrific opportunity to immerse yourself in frame drumming for a day in the Atlanta area September 12. You get five workshops with notable frame drum experts plus an evening concert for just $100! I think it’s a great deal. My students and I will be there performing some new works in the evening concert. Check us out on YouTube here:

To reserve a spot at NAFDA South, send email to or visit

Hope to see you there!



Kariga Mombe Basic

Here is a transcription of Kariga Mombe in tablature notation. Kariga Mombe means “taking the bull by the horns.” It is a song about determination. This is a the basic version that most beginners play. In my book, Learning Mbira: A Beginning…, this is the same as the standard kushaura without the right index finger.  I’ve found that beginning students get a much better introduction to mbira with this most basic version because it uses only the two thumbs in a limited range. Try it!

The notation is described in my article, “Getting Started with Mbira Dzavadzimu.” You can find it here:



 Kariga Mombe basic

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Chartwell Dutiro’s Shumba ya Ngwasha

This is a transcription in tablature notation of Chartwell Dutiro’s version of “Shumba ya Ngwasha” (Ngwasha’s version of Shumba), played in nemakonde tuning. Nemakonde is a very low tuning (low E) in phrygian mode. A higher-pitched version of this tuning is called “gandanga.” Chartwell’s performance is elegant in its simplicity. There are no variations, and yet the performance is full. His singing is beautiful and his timing is impeccably balanced.

If you are unfamiliar with the notation, consult my article, “Getting Started with Mbira Dzavadzimu” here:

Most nemakonde/gandanga mbiras have an extra key on the lower left manual (8 keys rather than the usual 7).  If yours doesn’t have that extra key (the 2nd scale degree – not found on standard instruments in nyamaropa or dambatsoko tuning, for example), use the notes in parentheses on the transcription.

Below is a link to a video of Chartwell performing Shumba ya Ngwasha.

Chartwell Dutiro playing Shumba ya Ngwasha