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Google Doodle Spotlights Zimbabwe's Traditional Music With Mbira

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the mbira, a traditional Zimbabwean instrument whose sound has been popularised by musicians such as Stella Chiweshe, Leonard Chiyanike, Biggie Tembo and the Bhundu Boys, among many others.

Today's Google Doodle is casting into the spotlight one of the most central instruments to Zimbabwe's traditional music scene—the mbira. Often referred to as a "thumb piano" in the West, the mbira is responsible for the distinct melodies in a lot of the traditional music among the Shona people in particular.


While traditional Zimbabwean music is arguably not as popular as its Afro-jazz, rumba and dancehall contemporaries, it is a fundamental genre in many rituals, traditional ceremonies and some church services in Zimbabwe.

The instrument is made using the wood from the Mubvamaropa or "Bloodwood" tree in addition to steel wire which makes up the keys of the instrument.

LeonardChiyanike, perhaps one of the most well-known mbira players in Zimbabwe, speaks about the meticulous process of creating a single mbira saying, "If [the keys] are forged well and properly aligned, I need not worry about the sound because of the uniformity of how I forge them. There are a few variables in the way I forge them, and I guard against making keys too thick or too thin because, if that happens, the key will sound as if it is choked or muffled when one strikes it. It's a delicate process that I have mastered over the years."

Chiyanike, who can be described as a purist with regards to the mbira, says quite cautiously that, "Mbira is for the makombwe and vepasi (spirits) and it is not something you can just play around with." He adds that, "It's not something that we can just use for trivial entertainment, because it is for matare (consultation with a spirit) and serious traditional rites and rituals."

Other Zimbabwean artists who have popularised the mbira, in more secular settings however, include Stella Chiweshe, Biggie Tembo and the Bhundu Boys. Artists like Thomas Mapfumo and the late Oliver Mtukudzi were also known to dabble with the instrument in a few of their songs.

Watch the informative BBC video with Albert Chimedza, the Director of the Mbira Centre in Harare, here.

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(Photo by Ernest Ankomah/Getty Images)

Was Burna Boy Snubbed at the Grammys?

Love, Damini was one of the contenders for Best Global Music Album and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance, however the Nigerian singer lost both awards.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards were held last night at the Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles. As expected, the event swarmed with outstanding artists and personalities with ravishing looks. Before the event commenced, onlookers and fans tipped their favourite artists to bring home the award, especially Nigerians who were hyped to see the likes of Tems and Burna Boyrepresenting the country on a global stage.

Gone are the days when being nominated for a prestigious award like the Grammy Awards as a Nigerian artist came as a shock. Nigerian music has been on a trajectory in recent years, winning over the global audience. In 2021, Burna Boy set history as the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award as a lead artist in the Global Music Album category (previously Best World Music Album). His latest studio album Love, Damini was again one of the contenders for the Best Global Music Album category this year and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance. However, the singer lost both awards, failing to add to his list of international plaques.

Following the announcement at the award show, when Tems emerged as a Grammy Award winner in the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” category for Future’s “Wait For U” and Burna Boy wasn’t declared winner of any of the two categories he was nominated in, was a trail of reactions on social media.

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Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Africa was Well Represented At The 2023 Grammys​

The West's biggest night in music started off with a bang, a snub, and a whole lot of shimmer.

Music's big night out brought out some of Africa's biggest and brightest to lend their glamour to the red carpet.

Here are the African musicians attending the 2023 Grammy Awards:

Tems

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The world belongs to Tems, baby! The Nigerian songstress becomes the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award as she scooped her Best Melodic Rap Performance win alongside American rapper Future and Drake on their hit collab 'Wait For U'. Draped in a custom Viviane Westwood evening gown, the singer continues to break records as she adds the latest win to her abundant collection.

Trevor Noah 

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

South African comedian Trevor Noah was tasked with keeping tonight's crowd entertained and in order during the ceremony at Los Angeles's Crypto.com arena.

Rocky Dawuni

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni brought along his beautiful daughter Safiyah Dawuni to celebrate his nominated single "Neva Bow Down" featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro. The two-time Grammy-nominated musician lost out on this year's award for Best Global Music Performance.

Yola 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

British-born Ghanaian Barbadian singer-songwriter Yola attends the award show for her work in the 2022 musical/drama hit Elvis.

Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Halala! South African threesome Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed up to snag this year's Best Global Music Performance award for their hit single "Bayethe." The collaborator's win set the internet ablaze as they beat Africa's Giant, Nigerian artist Burna Boy.

Doja Cat 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Doja Cat is clearly having a ball with her fashion sense lately, this time, the "Woman" songstress channeled her inner femme fatale in a black leather look by Versace. The singer was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of The Year, Best Music Video, Best Rap Performance, and Best Solo Performance.

Eddy Kenzo

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo waved the flag proudly this Sunday as he attended as the country's first Grammy nominee to date. The crooner missed out on this year's Best Global Music Performance award for his track "Gimme Love" with American rapper Matt B, but we trust the Masaka-born star will be back with a vengeance.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Nomcebo Zikode, Zakes Bantwini & Wouter Kellerman Win Grammy Award For Best Global Music Performance

The South African artists won for their song "Bayethe" award at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.


South African artists Nomcebo Zikode, Zakes Bantwini, and Wouter Kellerman, and scored a win for their hit song "Bayethe" at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony.

The three SA artists won over Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo, USA’s Matt B, Ghana's Rocky Dawuni, and Pakistan's Arooj Aftab in theBest Global Music Performance category at the Grammy Awards.

The South African winning trio consists of Nomcebo Zikode, who is renowned as the singer in "Jerusalema," singer, record producer and singer Zakes Bantwini, and celebrated flutist, producer and composerWouter Kellerman.

According to ZALebs, during a prestigious Grammy's brunch dedicated to African nominees a day before the award show, both Zikode and Bantwini expressed excitement about the potential win. According to the publication Zikode had stated that she felt like she had already won the award.

“I’m hoping that South African people are going to be proud of me, we’re hoping to take this one but hey, if we don’t take it, it’s OK, I feel like I’m a winner already,” Zikode said at the time.

This is the first time Zikode and Bantwini win a Grammy. Kellerman won the award in 2015 for his album Winds of Samsara.

Previously, some controversy surrounded the song "Bayethe," with OkayAfrica reporting reporting that Zikode would be taking Open Mic Records to court after the singer alleged that the South African record label had told Spotify to take down the song over an intellectual property dispute. It is unclear where the lawsuit currently lies.

Several fans of the record took to social media to gleefully congratulate the South African artists for the accolade.

Watch the music video for the Grammy-winning "Bayethe" below.

“Nomcebo & Zakes just won a GRAMMY for Bayethe 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎 #Grammys2023 #Nomcebo #Zakes #Bayethe”

Watch the music video for the Grammy-Winning "Bayethe" below.

News Brief
Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images.

Tems Takes Home Her First Grammy Award

Nigerian star Temshas won her first Grammy Award for her work on Future's "Wait For U"—and it's only up from here for her.


Temsjust added "Grammy Award Winner" to her teeming list of accolades. During the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, the Nigerian singer, whose full name is Temilade Openiyi, earned her first Grammy for her contribution to Future's ‘Wait For U,' which also features Drake.

The musical bombshell won in the category of Best Melodic Rap Performance over artists like Latto (“Big Energy (Live)”, Jack Harlow (“First Class”), Kendrick Lamar (“Die Hard”), and DJ Khaled (“Beautiful”). With this win, the 27-year-old fan-favorite just made history as the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy after Sade.

Tems, who has made a big impression with her music over the past few years is also up for Album of the Year for her contribution to Beyoncé’s Renaissance. Earlier this year, the "Higher" Singer scored an Oscar nomination at the 2023 Oscars for co-writing "Lift Me Up’, one of the songs on 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

"Wait For U" sampled Tems' song "Higher," which was a record off of her 2020 debut album For Broken Ears. "Wait For U'" was released on May 3, 2022, and was released as the second single from Future's ninth studio album, I Never Liked You.

Shortly after the record was released, Future took to social media to praise Tems' vocal ability. The rest of 2022 would involve Tems getting praise and international recognition for her artistry, and a fleet of projects, including notable collaborations with mega stars like Beyoncé and Rihanna.

Ever since news of the Tems' win broke, several fans took to social media to excitedly congratulate the Lagos-born mega star.

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