About Kambuyu

Photo Credit Gary Emord

Kambuyu Marimba Ensemble of Syracuse has been together since 2004. The roots of the music we play comes from Shona people of Zimbabwe. Many of the tunes we play originate in traditional mbira songs and melodies of that region. Seven marimbas of four sizes are usually played in the arrangements for this music: a bass, baritone, two tenors, and three sopranos. Traditionally this music is accompanied by gourd rattle percussion (hosho) and sometimes hand drums. Our marimbas were built by group members using various tonal woods for the keys. Resonators were fashioned from PVC pipe cut to length, tuned, and sealed. Pieces of cellophane are placed over small holes in the tubes to create a unique buzzing that is like a voice. We are grateful for the video by Fred King of Fredtronics Custom Marimbas based in Portland, Oregon, for his unique and original design! Also to Stan Sitnik’s marimba building workshop.

Using similar rhythms and song structure, the group also has composed songs in the traditional style. We are a community-minded musical group and would love to hear from people who would like to know more!

Photo Credit Kerry Thurston

We are grateful for our teachers and the ancestors who have passed this music to us.

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