Stella Chiweshe (also Stella Rambisai Chiweshe, Stella Rambisai Chiweshe Nekati, or Stella Nekati Chiweshe, b. Mujumi Village, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe, 8 July 1946) is a Zimbabwean musician. She is internationally known for her singing and playing of the mbira dzavadzimu, a traditional instrument of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. She is one of the few female players of the instrument, which she learned to play from 1966 to 1969 when even fewer females played the instrument.
Chiweshe has performed numerous times in Germany and has also participated in the WOMAD festival (1994 in the United States, 1995 in Australia, and 2006 in Spain). In 2004 she toured England with her daughter.
In addition to performing as a soloist, Chiweshe often performs in combination with guitars. She has also organized an international women's music festival in Zimbabwe.
In 1989, she starred in I Am the Future, a Godwin Mawuru film about a young woman who travels to the big city to escape Zimbabwe's independence war in the rural areas.
Links To Peel
On his 20 January 1988 show, Peel declared Stella Chiweshe's Ambuya? LP to be his record of the week. Two months later, she did the first of two sessions for his show. The cover of Stella's Ndizvozvo 12" single, released the same year, featured the sub-title 'The Mbira Queen Of Zimbabwe Meets John Peel'. In reality, the two had no direct contact in the late 80s, as Peel told his listeners on his 15 July 1989 (BFBS) show:
- "This is from Stella Chiweshe....and it says on the front of the sleeve, "The Mbira queen of Zimbabwe meets John Peel." In fact, we've never actually met, but there is something in the notes to this song which makes me believe that this is perhaps the reference to me. It's a song called Kachembere, and it says, "This is an old favourite story about an old bullfrog which was always seen early in the mornings searching for food with its children. After having enough of it, it would climb into the mountains, lazily yawning, scratching and breaking wind." Well, that does sound a little like me, I have to admit."
The Ndizvozvo 12" consisted of her 1st Peel session, hence the cover sub-title.
The first session is available on Ndizvozvo(1988, 12" EP, Piranha)
- Kachembere / Kana Ndikafa / Chapfudzapasi / Vana Vako Vapera
- Chimbochababa / Serewende / Guarangu / Shungu
Other Shows Played
- 15 January 1988 (BFBS) / Peel 078 (BFBS): Rhythm Section: 'Sarura Wako (LP-Ambuya?)' (Piranha)
- 18 January 1988: Chamakuwende / Sarura Wako (LP - Ambuya?) Piranha
- 19 January 1988: Sarura Wako (album - Ambuya? Zimbabwe's Queen Of The Mbiza) Globe Style
- 20 January 1988: Sarura Wako (LP - Ambuya?) Globe Style
- 23 January 1988 (BFBS): Sarura Wako (album - Ambuya? Zimbabwe's Queen Of The Mbiza) Globe Style
- 25 January 1988: Njuzu (LP - Ambuya? Zimbabwe's Queen Of The Mbira) Piranha
- 30 January 1988 (BFBS): Sarura Wako (album - Ambuya? Zimbabwe's Queen Of The Mbiza) Globe Style
- 02 February 1988: Chamakuwende (LP - Ambuya? Zimbabwe's Queen Of The Mbiza) Globe Style
- 16 February 1988: Njuzu (LP - Ambuya?) Piranha
- 08 March 1988: Sarura Wako (LP - Ambuya?) Piranha
- 19 December 1988: Sarura Wako (LP - Ambuya? Plus The Mini LP Ndizvozvo) Globe Style