“Zimbabwean singer Chiwoniso backs her soulfully intense pipes with hypnotic swirls of mbira, the metal-keyed thumb piano characteristic of her nation’s Shona culture. But the Olympia, WA–born vocalist’s songs, many of them in English, draw just as deeply from the border-crossing spirit of India.Arie and Angélique Kidjo.”
–Time Out New York
One of Zimbabwe's most powerful and influential voices, Chiwoniso passed away suddenly in 2013 at the young age of 37. Throughout her short life, Chiwoniso watched her ancestral land struggle to overcome the enduring legacies of colonialism, war, social inequality and political oppression. A devoted advocate of free speech, human rights and social justice, Chiwoniso's music gave voice to the voiceless and spoke to the problems and joys of the world around her. With a sound that recalled the fire of Angélique Kidjo, the inspiration of Oliver Mtukudzi, the rebellion of Thomas Mapfumo and the soul of India.Aire, Chiwoniso was one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the African diaspora, and though she was gone too soon, her message lives on in her music. Recognizing that artists play a special role in society, Chiwoniso believed they must not be afraid to speak out against injustice. “We have a responsibility. We are not bankers, we are not doctors, we are not nurses. We have another part that we play in society that must be done. So, regardless of whatever world system is going to come in and say: ‘Cut what you are saying,’ going to send riot cops in to your shows, going to come and arrest you and say ‘We are going to try and put you in jail...’ – it doesn’t matter. We have a responsibility."