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Parksville, British Columbia, Canada

Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
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Afro-Mumanzi is a world music fusion band based in the Oceanside area of Vancouver Island. We chose Mumanzi, a Zimbabwean word for ‘music’, for our name because we all started out playing in marimba ensembles. While marimbas are still our main instrument, we’ve added drum kit, hand percussion, mbira (thumb piano) and, believe it or not, violin. Our music is original, upbeat, fun to play, and great for dancing.

Afro-Mumanzi has five members ages 16 to 23. As well as playing in Afro-Mumanzi, sisters Jasmine and Fahlon Smith direct, manage, and perform with their own youth ensemble, Kumbana Marimba. A family road trip four years ago took them through Mexico to Guatemala, sharing Zimbabwean songs along the way and exploring the marimba traditions of the Mayan people.

Our three Vancouver members, Chris Couto, Kai Buchan, and Theo Vincent, play in several roots, salsa, and world music bands including the marimba/percussion group Kutapira. In 2007 Kutapira represented Canada at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland where they got to play a command performance for the Queen at Balmoral Castle. Another time they went to Matanzas, Cuba, the birthplace of rumba. That’s why you’ll hear rumba, clave, reggae, and other Caribbean rhythms in our music.

Although Afro-Mumanzi is an emerging band, all of us have been playing for the last eight years in other groups. We’ve performed in community halls, major venues like the Stanley Theatre and Chan Centre for Performing Arts, and outdoor spaces like the Main Stage of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. The joyful spirit of our music and the energy of our performances appeal to all ages.

This past summer we performed at festivals on Vancouver Island from the Afro-Carib Carnival in Victoria and Islands Folk Festival in Duncan to the Phil Dwyer Music Festival in Qualicum Beach, Hi Neighbour Days in Errington, and KidFest in Parksville, closer to home. We had such a good time we want to play festivals everywhere we can this summer.