Tendai Mavengeni, a 15-year old fast rising mbira sensation from Zimbabwe, released her two singles on Friday, 18 November.
The two singles, ‘Motoroodza’ and ‘Munzira Yakachena’, are taken off her forthcoming, self-titled second album, Tendai. This project follows two years after she released her debut album, Destiny, in 2014.
Speaking before the release, Tendai said, “I am excited about this project. I know I have grown from the first project and hope people will love the effort we have put in this project.”
The gifted composer says she is keen to tackle issues to do with the girl child. She reflects this on ‘Motoroodza’, while the second track, ‘Munzira Yakachena’, is a plea for God’s protection from the evil that is haunting the world.
Adrian Mparutsa, who produced the album said, “Being part of this creative process has been a good experience as I worked with a young artiste who has so much depth. Her writing is profound and subjects one to a lot of introspection. As the producer, all I had to do was magnify her thoughts to bring out the musical product.”
Tendai’s parents have been her pillars of strength since her formative stages.
Chengetai, Tendai’s mother, said, “I would like to see her excel in both her art and academics to make her a fullrounded individual.”
Although they are protective like parents should be, Tendai enjoys the freedom to write, and arrange her music the way she wants.
Her father, Boniface Mavengeni said, “We argue sometimes, about lyrics and the way the music is arranged but we want her eventually to be able to stand on her own. She must learn the business side of her art without us interfering but giving advice and in the end the final decision on what stays is hers.”
Born in December 2000 in Harare, Tendai is a high school student at a local school in Harare. She has a passion for music, particularly traditional music that was influenced by the music she grew up listening to. She started playing mbira at the age of nine and was taught and mentored by respected mbira players Trymore Guchi Jombo and Brezhnev Guveya.
Tendai is often likened to great mbira players like Stella Chiweshe and the late Chiwoniso Maraire. She stole the show at Harare Culture Week launch at Longcheng Plaza this year in May, where she was part of performers from several schools and traditional dance groups that took part at the launch.
This article was originally published in The Herald on 16 November 2016