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CHIWONISO - biography
CHIWONISO (5 March 1976 / 24 July 2013)
Chiwoniso Maraire was a new star for a new age.
A lifetime of music in both Zimbabwe and the US, where she was playing simple mbira melodies by the age of four, set Chi (a nickname for Chiwoniso) up for the musical challenges she faces today. After playing and recording as a child with her father's marimba group 'Dumi & Minanzi III' in 1985 and also 'Mhuri ya Maraire' (The Maraire Family), her father 's marimba group, Chi's path lead through free-style rapping & beatboxing to the fusion of traditional and electric music and instruments with the dynamic 'hybrid' music of Andy Brown & The Storm.
The Storm achieved huge success both in Zimbabwe and further afield, where they played various concerts in of Europe and Africa including the SADC Music Festival (Zimbabwe, 1995) and The MASA Festival (Ivory Coast, 1997).
At the same time, Chiwoniso continued to write her own music, which she performed in Europe and Africa together with other artists and the support of The Storm. She also embarked on the 2-year General Certificate in Music Course with the Zimbabwe College of Music.
As vocalist, percussionist and mbira player, Chi's musical gift developed and matured with The Storm over the years, and led to the recording of her first solo CD 'Ancient Voices' (1998), for the French label Lusafrica.
Chiwoniso Maraire was a bright new star in Africa - young, gifted, and full of promise. Her traditional Shona mbira style, which emerges naturally from within her, is overlaid with something that is entirely and uniquely her own a mellow and sensuous style which fuses together the past, present and future.
Chiwoniso has obtain in July 98 the ‘DECOUVERTE AFRIQUE 98’ award given by R.F.I. (Radio France Internationale) and the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères (French Foreign Office) for her debut album ‘Ancient Voices’ released by Lusafrica.