5 Songs, 28 Minutes


About Chiwoniso

The daughter of Zimbabwean artist Dumisani Maraire, singer/mbira player Chiwoniso Maraire specialized in an R&B-drenched style of African pop. But the vocalist, who went by her first name professionally, wasn't actually born in Africa. Chiwoniso was born in Olympia, Washington, and lived in the U.S. until adolescence; she was 15 when she moved with her parents to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. It was in Harare that she made her presence felt on the Zimbabwean pop scene and became a member of the Afro-pop group Andy Brown & the Storm. Chiwoniso (whose sweetly girlish vocals brought to mind R&B singers like Deniece Williams and Minnie Riperton) eventually pursued a solo career, and her debut solo album, Ancient Voices, was released in the U.S. on Tinder in 2000. In addition to singing, Chiwoniso played the mbira, an African thumb piano that was played exclusively by men until the '60s. Chiwoniso died on July 7, 2013 from what was suspected to be pneumonia. She was 37 years old. ~ Alex Henderson

Olympia, WA
March 5, 1976