H Metro


- Latwell Nyangu

CALIFORNIA-BASED Afro Jazz and Mbira songbird Piwai is making waves away from home through her mbira prowess.

Piwai says she is determined to spread her wings across the world following positive feedback from different countries.

“My music goes beyond borders and I sing in 12 different languages.

“There is soothing and healing in my music. For the internatio­nal market, work is in progress,

“I have worked with artistes from India, Canada, Germany and I have performed in parts of Africa and Germany as well.

“I will keep releasing music and during the pandemic I have been preparing music which I will be dropping,” she added.

Fondly known as the girl with the African thumb piano (the mbira), Piwai wows audiences across the globe with her soulful voice.

“My love for music is influenced by my multicultu­ral Southern Africa and gospel exposure in early childhood.

“At the age of 10, I joined the church choir and by 13, I was writing and performing my own songs.

“At 19 I left medical school in Zimbabwe to pursue a path as a biologist in the United States.

“Music is the sum total of my very existence and every action I make manifests in music the rhythm of my life,” she added.

Piwai said she promotes music across generation­s and boundaries.

“I teach music, singing, dance and drumming through the Centre for World Music and The Young Musicians Academy in the greater San Diego Area.

“My music embraces and expands upon the richness of Pan-African traditions.”

During and after college years Piwai trained as a jazz vocalist at the Jazz School of Berkeley, studying with world renowned vocalists and instructor­s such as Vernon Bush, Raz Kennedy, Maye Cavallaro and Frankye Kelly.

Piwai went under the tutelage of maestros and renowned percussion­ist, Yagbe Onilu and conguero, Butch Haynes.

Piwai has masterfull­y created her own hypnotic sound that layers rabi (vocal based rhythms), jazz, blues, traditiona­l folk and reggae on top of the traditiona­l sacred sounds of the 3 000-year-old mbira instrument.

Piwai is a cultural ambassador for several non-profits in the Bay Area and San Diego.

In 2014, she was recognised by the Mayor of Long Beach for distinguis­hed service towards cultural awareness, spreading peace and unity through the harmony of music.

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