Zimba Marimba Band

Zimba Marimba Band

 Lund, Sk√•ne, SWE

Hearts grow HUGE when the 10 young members of Zimba Marimba Band start to beat their big African xylophones! Traditional music from Zimbabwe and West Africa draw the audience deep into joyful marimba, mbira, song, dance and leg rattle rhythms. Be invigorated and moved by a unique performance.


Zimba Marimba Band is based in Lund, Sweden. We are a young vibrant percussion group and have played together for many years, developing an ensemble expertise that thrills us and the people we play for. Our main focus has been to learn about the music and culture of Zimbabwe. We explore the cultural context of the music and encourage our audiences to understand and participate in this great musical tradition that embraces and teaches us about LIFE!

We have had the amazing fortune to travel to Africa several times, living amongst its people and sinking deep into the magic of the music. Our visits to Zimbabwe, and especially to HIFA festival in Harare 2007 have inspired us to share our music with thousands of people at festivals, concerts, conferences and street gigs. We just love to play!

Under the guidance of many great African teachers, among them, Tipei Marazanye, Chaka Chawasarira, Luckson Chikutu, Rujeko Dumbutshena and with the influence of the brilliant Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo, Zimba Marimba Band has developed a repertoire that encompasses marimba, mbira, song and dance. Its all learnt aurally, through accoustic and movement memory, enabling us to internalise the music and make it our own. Its the subtilty of the intricate rhythms, the suprise of the sensual drums and the great contribution of the hoshos(maraccas) and dance that give this music its enormous power.

We have also been engaged in many projects with young people from both Europe and Africa, investigating the interesting aspects surrounding peer teaching.....how young people can become excellent teachers! Its been a very interesting journey, exploring HOW we learn and why Africa has so much to offer the musical world.

When we perform, people tell us the hair stands up on their arms and that their hearts are filled with happiness! Its a great compliment and we experience exactly the same thing ourselves! We believe its all about finding the breath, finding the universality of musical experience and then sharing it with others.

In Mozambique we had a marvellous chance to live amongst the Chopi musicians, (the great timbila players) and to soak up the mysterious sounds of these great instruments and rhythms. In Botswana we studied with Alport Mhlanga, a marimba pioneer who developed the first marimba repertoire in Zimbabwe during the 70's. In South Africa, the great percussionist and composer Dizu Plaatjies helped open our eyes and ears to the complex Amadinda rhythms.

Some of our band members have even had the opportunity to study drumming and dancing in West Africa, more specifically in Guinea Conacry under the guidance of Max Soumah. Hours of music making in the sun (or shade) has given us a taste of the explosiveness and power involved in performance and the importance of inclusiveness through music in the African culture. We try to mirror this knowledge and experience in our work.

We may be young (17-21 years old) but we are great performers!

Our marimba instruments (Zimba Marimbas) are stunning. Based on the Chopi design they were developed by the late musician and ethnomusicologist Olof Axelsson when he lived in Zimbabwe during the 60s and 70s. He researched and built marimba instruments in order to reintroduce African music into the school curriculum. Zimbabwe was a British Colony at that time and was known as Rhodesia. Music education in the schools embraced only Western music and Olof saw the need for an instrument that could build a bridge between African and Western music. It is his wife Peta, a Zimbabwean by birth who started the marimba program in Sweden and who has taught and inspired us for many years.

We have performed in Harare Zimbabwe, (HIFA 2007), Gabarone Botswana, Cape Town South Africa, Denmark, Norway,Poland, Germany (NordischerKlang) Malmo Festival and World Mix Festival in Sweden and at many international conferences and children's events.

Check out our website: www.zimbamarimbaband.com.

(Not to be confused with a band in the USA called Zimba Marimba)


ALIVE (CD) Zimba Marimba Band 2004.

6 tracks with streaming on website www.zimbamarimbaband.com
under sub heading MEDIA/video/music

'Exploring the relevance of multicultural music education' A half hour film about our journey to Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 2006.

'Its Show Time'
In colaboration with the Media School in Malmo Sweden a 20 minute film about our participation at HIFA 2007 (Harare Festival of the Arts).
Filmed by Moa Dahlin and Frida Martensson.

Set List

Our large repertoire includes many traditional songs from Zimbabwe played on marimba. eg.

Dzinowa Kuna Save
Chigwindiri (Thomas Mapfumo),
Taive Gumi
Vana Vangu Vapera

We also play:
Ndilolila and Amaxoxo, both composed by Alport Mhlanga from Botswana.

Traditional dances:
Niketche from Mozambique
Menjani and Triba from West Africa.

Mbira Dzavadzimu
Kalimba + song

We usually give an hours performance that can easily be adjusted or shortened to fit many forms of entertainment. All ages enjoy our show!