Zimbabwean-born Tanyaradzwa A. Tawengwa performed “Dawn of the Rooster: A Choral Drama,” the story of the composer’s family during the Second Chimurenga, the Zimbabwean struggle for liberation from 1965-1980. Belonging to a canon of politically subversive music called Chimurenga Music, it features monologues and movements from the work, rearranged for a chamber ensemble of voice, piano, mbira, keyboard, hosho and selected readings from Zimbabwean novels.
Chimurenga Music spread the message of liberation through song during the war. The music employed a series of linguistic, textual, and structural modifications to cultivate a sense of cultural pride. This structural DNA was linked to a deeper lineage of mbira repertoire that resonated with the core of the people. Much of this music was censored, if not banned, and singing the songs was a punishable offence. The power of these songs lay in the ability of the melodies to summon the Mhondoro - the Great Ancestors of the people - to awaken the spirit of liberation with a promise for freedom. Tawengwa and her collaborators will channel the spiritual and political heritage of revolutionary Chimurenga Music.
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