Sunday, May 17, 2015


Forward Kwenda was born in the rural Buhera area of Zimbabwe, and as a boy excelled in traditional dance and recitation of ancient poetry. At the age of 10, he began to play ngoma (drums) and hosho (gourd rattles) for his mother's gombwe (rain-making) spirit. He was given the name "Forward" because of his curiosity about many subjects, enthusiastic involvement in many activities, and his singing for liberation war freedom fighters.

At an early age, Forward borrowed an mbira and, with no teacher other than occasional radio programs, began to play on his own. In 1984, Kwenda moved to Zimbabwe's capital city of Harare and began to play mbira with other musicians. Within a year, he had formed his own mbira group and was making records and performing on national radio, as well as performing constantly at mapira ceremonies. During this period, he was informed by powerful rain-making spirits that he was to devote his life to playing mbira for their ceremonies. He was particularly known as the teenager for bringing the desired spirits to a ceremony by the end of the first song .
In 1985, Forward began playing in a unique complex style - much to the amazement of master mbira players two and three generations his senior. This style, considered in Shona culture to be "more ancient" because spirits prefer it


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