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Live From The WRTI Performance Studio: Kwaya Marimba Introduces a Bit of Zimbabwean Marimba Mania!

Kwaya Marimba
Kwaya Marimba at The Please Touch Museum

Six years in, Kwaya Marimba at Friends School Haverford continues to impress. The student ensemble has performed concerts at local venues including The Barnes Museum, The Please Touch Museum, and The Philadelphia Zoo. Ten students along with their ten marimbas and their teacher Ed Nardi join Jazz Host J. Michael Harrison in the WRTI Performance Studio on YouTube on Thursday, April 4th at 1 PM for a presentation.


WRTI Program:

"Isu Tauya Pano" - Trad. Shona; "Ekwanagoma" - Trad. Shona; "Hope" - Walt Hampton

Kwaya Marimba performs compositions inspired by the Shona music of Zimbabwe. These pieces consist of interlocking rhythmic patterns that function like a choir's soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections. In fact Kwaya is the Bantu word for choir.

The group will be in performance on Thursday, April 25th at Friends School Haverford.  Showtime is 7 PM and Kwaya Marimba performs at 7:30 PM.

One of the many educational benefits of playing marimba, is that all of the notes are physically organized and laid out before you.  Low notes are large and to your left, high notes are small and to your right.  You don't have to associate a tone with a seemingly unrelated fingering as on a wind instrument.  Visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile: the experience of playing in Kwaya Marimba is visceral.  You cannot help but move and feel.

Musician and Teacher Ed Nardi has been teaching classroom music for close to twenty years and playing marimba for almost forty years.  Approximately twelve years ago those two disciplines came together when he discovered Walt Hampton's collection of Zimbabwean influenced marimba tunes for elementary school called "Hot Marimba".  Beginning with classroom Orff instruments (small xylophones), Ed began creating groups that perform happy danceable music that not only deepens student's appreciation of the fundamentals of music and performance, but appeals to adults as well.  Currently Ed leads a group of seventh and eighth graders af Friends School Haverford called Kwaya Marimba.

J. Michael Harrison’s first radio show, WPEB’s “Is That Jazz” launched in June of 1993. In 1994 he began volunteering with WRTI as a production assistant. In 1996, J. Michael debuted his own program, The Bridge, which continues to air Friday evenings on WRTI.