Simon Mashoko@ lasvingo, the town where Mr.Mashoko lived, took about 4 hours from Harare by bus. As for Masvingo, the origin of the name is a county where the first white people settled in Zimbabwe. At the time of this interview it was wet season and very cold in the daytime, but Mr.Mashoko agreed to a short interview.
‘ Why did you choose the Njari mbira with 32 keys?
lFBecause My father was Njari player and so was my mother.
‘ Did you study traditional music from your father?
‘ Are "Mbiriviri" and "Kumakudo," included in "The Soul of Mbira" album?
‘ You were the first person to play mbira at a church in Zimbabwe, but when did you first pick up the instrument?
lFWhen Joseph, my eldest son was born. It was 1952.
‘ It was a taboo till then to play mbira at a church, but why would the people of white rule feel that mbira reminded one of the devil ?
lFOnly they believed in Christianity and wanted to control the people. Mbira music promotes a dance to one's ancestors, and it is not something that wakes up the devil. Therefore, I began performing at a church. It is written in the Bible that mbira and all music is a gift from God.
‘ Really ? ?
lFThe music sends away malice and a wicked heart, and it is written in the Bible that people were lead by musical instruments.
‘ But people still don't often play mbira in churches...
lFYes, but it is played much more often now than in the old days. People also play hosho or Ngoma (a Zimbabwean drum).
‘ How long have you lived in this place ?
lFIt was 1966 that I moved from Gweru. I worked in Gweru till then. I moved to this place with mbira in a divine message of God.
‘ Were you brought up till then in Gweru ?
lFI spent most of time when I was young in Gweru, but I was brought up in Masvingo.
‘ And you established a church in this place?
lFYes. A lot of people cooperated to build this church. But I did most of the work by myself.
@ @ ‘ How many people gather in this church ?
lFWhen there is many about 300 people gather.
‘ Wow, that much!
lFAre you come from Japan ?
lFI had a Suzuki motorcycle in my youth and I went to Harare by motorcycle sometimes. But I sold it.
‘ Why ?
lFI had an accident and was half-dead.
‘ Were you all right ?
lFYes, I'm still alive (laughing).
‘ ilaughingjThank you very much for your time.
lFThank you for coming to such a far-off place.
The senility has gotten worse, and Mr.Mashoko looked more feeble to than I imagined. However, I watched a man who drank beer which I took for a souvenir with great relish, and I became glad. I left his village and was wrapped in a mysterious feeling of happiness in a few minutes.
Dying proudlycI cannot help but have big respect towards Mr.Mashoko, has retained his dignity throughout his life. I was accompanied by Mr.Cosmas Magaya on this trip and was guided in various ways. I thank him deeply for giving me his valuable time. @@@
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