In an artists' loft in Eugene, Oregon where Shumba Marimba used to rehearse, Maggie Donahue, a member of Shumba, helped to teach the first African marimba class in 1989 and began to envision a larger center where many adults and
children could learn to play Zimbabwean music.
Encouraged by Dr. Abraham Dumisani Maraire (Dumi), a Zimbabwean musician and ethnomusicologist then living in Seattle, Maggie and a group of eager students built a set of marimbas and formed Kutsinhira Community Marimba Center. The name was changed in 2001 to Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center to reflect our interest in all aspects of Zimbabwean music and culture.
Since the early days, Kutsinhira has become a non-profit organization with a board of directors, four teachers, and enough students to support six weekly classes and three performing ensembles. Our connection with the people and culture of Zimbabwe is strengthened not only through a deep appreciation of the beautiful music we have learned, but also through close ties with our Zimbabwean teachers Cosmas Magaya, Beauler Dyoko, Musekiwa Chingodza and many others who have generously provided so much more than the notes to the music.
The Shona word kutsinhira refers to the musical part played on an mbira that responds to the main line of a song. Taken together, they are a metaphor for the idea that a note struck in Zimbabwe reverberates with us in the Pacific Northwest