The matepe is a type of mbira (lamellophone) from northeast of Zimbabwe and adjacent areas in Mozambique.
Regional variants include the hera and the madhebhe.
Created from strikingly simple elements, the otherworldly beautiful matepe music is without doubt among the most
complex and sonically rich on the entire African continent - nothing in the world sounds like matepe!
For economic, social, and religious reasons, matepe music is severly endangered cultural heritage.
Over the course of her four years of field research, Jocelyn Moon met
less than ten master musicians and only a few families keeping these traditions alive.
As Chief Goronga of the Zonke family in Nyamapanda puts it:
"If nothing changes, we are the last generation to play this music."
Please get in touch for assistance, or to add or update information on this list.
Zimbabwe - If you live in, or can visit Zimbabwe, Chaka Chawasarira
in Chitungwiza (Phone/WhatsApp +263 77 858 4527), and Anthony Zonke
in Nyamapanda (Phone +263-775330609; WhatsApp +263 77 678 9620) are knowledgeable masters and experienced teachers.
Other players which might be available for teaching include James Kamwaza, Mishek Nyamukuvhengu in Nyanhehwe
village (Rushinga), Ephraim Masarakufa in Mutoko, Mr. Silika Gomo in Chitungwiza.
USA - In the states, Joel Laviolette offers lessons,
and tutorial videos via Patreon.
Germany - Sebastian Pott (email
email@example.com) teaches and builds mbira dzavazimu and
On your own - If you don't have a chance to study with a teacher, this website is the biggest public resource for matepe transcriptions.
Most material comes from the ILAM archives, Andrew Tracey's transcriptions of legendary
matepe/hera players like Saini Madera, Saini Murira, and Josam Nyamukuvhengu.
Buying a matepe
From Zimbabwe - Chaka Chawasarira in Chitungwiza (Phone/WhatsApp +263 77 858 4527) builds matepe in various tunings.
James Kamwaza (please ask for contact) builds hera.
International shipping from Zimbabwe is generally reliable.
From Germany - Sebastian Pott (email
firstname.lastname@example.org) is a maker of excellent mbira who builds
matepe in any tuning, and is an expert in creating instrument replica.
Sound of Africa Series 85:
(listen at Spotify) contains a number of matepe pieces by Murira, Madzikuninga, Muzengedza & Madera
Sound of Africa Series 91:
(listen at Spotify) contains a number of matepe pieces by Muzengedza & Madera