Passion never dies. It grows
Stay Hungry and Strong
Danmore Kusaya was born in Rusape, Zimbabwe and from early childhood displayed an interest and knack for traditional music and instruments (Drums ngoma, hosho and mbira). In time Danmore formed a mbira band with brother, Tendayi; they often played for their father and at community gatherings and concerts. This is how he met the lion of Zimbabwe, Thomas Mapfumo, who took Danmore along to play with him all over Southern Africa. Danmore has performed all across Southern Africa and Europe, formed part of the Two Brothers Mbira and Minanzi Mbira Band, and coached musicians from all over the world through the South African Casterbridge Music Development Academy (CMDA). Danmore gives workshops on mbira, marimba and drums. In 2019 Danmore co-founded the Sweet Dreamers Marimba Band Project in which musically gifted students from township communities get the opportunity to learn to play the marimba and to play in a professionally trained and managed marimba band.
From the very first note, you can plainly see the exuberant energy within Abby Byers that calls her to convey the beauty of Shona music. She expresses this through her body by dancing, singing, and creating percussive textures using magavhu (leg rattles) and hosho. An inspiring performer and teacher, Abby holds knowledge in a variety of instruments, dance forms and vocal styles. She was a member of Sheasby Matiure and the Mbira Queens for over 10 years, and performed with the Oakland, California-based Chinyakare Ensemble- directed by Julia Chigamba. Abby embodies the joy and depth of Shona music while respectfully making it her own. She holds a B.A. in Folklore & Ethnomusicology, and Spanish from IU Bloomington and a M.A. in Urban Education.
When invited into Jim’s personal space, one can easily see his love of music in the sheer number of instruments with which he surrounds himself and in the way he constantly and reverently holds one in his hands. The music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe spoke loudly to him when he first heard it performed. His initial and continued enthusiasm were shadowed only by his resolve towards learning. Since then, he has studied and played with masters. He has devoted himself to both the preservation and the evolution of this music. With one foot rooted in the history and tradition of the music, the other will walk the path yet seen by the ancestral spirits.