Creative BC News


Aug 14, 2021 | Funding Recipient

Zimbamoto is a 5-piece Afro-Fusion ensemble led by Canada’s foremost virtuoso mbira (“thumb piano”) and marimba player, Kurai Mubaiwa. Mixing the traditional music of Zimbabwe with electric grooves and heavy beats, they create a hypnotic sound that is uniquely built for the dance floor. Zimbamoto used the funding provided by Creative BC to record their debut album of original and traditional Zimbabwean music titled Tambai.

Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa was born in 1976 in the village of Mutimbanyoka, in Murewa district, Zimbabwe. With an exceptional interest he began playing mbira at the age of six. This keen learner watched while his father, uncles and other village elders played mbira in traditional ceremonies. Soon he began his journey as a young child singing, dancing, playing mbira and drums in traditional ceremonies and other village gatherings. In 1994 Kurai moved to Harare where he joined the cultural group Savannah Arts where he learned to play marimba and trained as an actor. Here he facilitated and coordinated the Streets Ahead programme which focused on teaching street youth to play marimba. In 1998 Kurai toured West Africa and Europe with Chiwoniso Maraire and opened for Cesaria Evora.

Kurai began his Canadian musical journey in 2002 when he immigrated to Vancouver. After getting his Canadian citizenship, Kurai was able to go back on the road, traveling across Europe with Chiwoniso Maraire, performing in various world music festivals including WOMAD as well as participating in Zimfest. Currently, he teaches in Canada's Britannia World Music Program, teaching youth marimba classes. Kurai conducts mbira marimba and drumming workshops and performs as a Soloist performer and also the lead musician with the groups Zhambai Trio and ZimbaMoto.

Creative BC is proud to support Zimbamoto as part of the BC Music Fund’s Sound Recording Program.