Nyamamusango Marimba & Mbira Ensemble was founded during 1999-2000. Nyamamusango Marimba & Mbira Ensemble has been busy busking, performing and having fun on the streets, in the markets and at functions around the Toronto and Kingston areas. We play Marimba and Mbira Music from Zimbabwe.

The ensemble brings together musicians from a variety of geographical and musical backgrounds. From east west, north & south,...we've got it covered!

Members Tim, Madeline, Dawne, Dan and Laird have been playing together over the past 2- 3 years. Our newest members are Chaka and Juanita. We are sometimes joined by Shadrick and Tawanda.


Tim has been playing Marimba and Mbira for several years. He studied with Dean Samuel of Marimba Muzuva in Victoria, British Columbia. Tim performed with the Lasqueti Island Marimba Ensemble while living in B.C. Moving to Toronto in 1998, he performed with Singing Tree Marimba. Tim founded Nyamamusango Marimba & Mbira Ensemble during 1999-2000Tim built all the Marimbas we play

Madeline has played marimba for over 4 years. She has also studied West African dance, belly dance and hand drumming. Madeline also performed with Ottawa's Drummers of Fire. She also plays Mbira.

Dawne plays Marimba, Mbira, is a storyteller, writer and a dancer. She has appeared as a storyteller at numerous events since 1983. She was a member of The Flaming Donos (music and dance from Ghana) from 1990-1998 and studied dance in Java and Bali. She currently studies Kathak (North Indian Classical Dance) with Joanna De Sousa of Chhandam Dance Company.

Laird - His family will tell you he's been making noise all his life (he grew up in a house full of music). He has been playing marimba for over 4 years and Mbira for over 2. He also plays percussion and keyboards for the Toronto band Ariel. Laird has been drumming for nearly 10 years, performing with Ottawa's Drummers of Fire from 1993-1996 as well as other percussion groups.

Dan has been playing marimba for several years, mainly in B.C. He has travelled to Zimbabwe 3 times - immersing himself in the culture which the music comes from. Dan first visited Zimbabwe in 1987. He began playing marimba and mbira in Victoria in 1998. He was a member of Solstix Marimba from 1998 until moving to Ontario in May. In 2000 he spent 10 weeks in Zimbabwe hanging out with musicians, and took a few lessons too. He has had the fortune of learning from many teachers, including Sandy Ockenden, Ted Wright, Farai Gezi, Pasipamire Gunguwo, Sydney Maratu, Garikai Tirikoti, Blessing Mubaiwa and Charles Mzite.

Chaka is an artist and musician. He grew up in a family of craftsmen and learned form an early age stone sculpture and wire work. Visit his website for samples of his work. He has been with our group since the summer of 2002.

Tawanda joined us in the spring of 2002 bringing his wonderful vocals and dancing and energetic Hosho playing.

Raphael joined us early in 2004 to add that extra percussive edge - playing caxia, snare and shakers

Our Name

Behind "Nyamamusango" is a story about survival and facing challenges one story tells of a boy who asks his father for something to eat and is given food.

This happens three times.

The fourth time the father hands his son a spear and says "Nyamamusango" - there's meat in the forest.

We have heard of different versions of this story, different meanings of the song, different words that are sung and thus different meanings of our name. Shona, like many languages is full of metaphors. What we do know for certain is that Nyama is the Shona word for meat (of any variety) and Musango indicates in the forest or in the bush. Ah, the voyage of discovery, and the discovery of meaning...

We chose the name for a number of reasons. First, to speak it out loud - one can hear both " "Meat" and "Meet" in the Forest. Secondly the idea of there being figuratively and perhaps literally"meat in the forest" tells us that there is sustinance to be found - in spirit or form in the world around us.The questions causes the listener to think and to ask - this is perhaps the point.

Download our Bio in PDF (You need Abobe Acrobat™ to view it.) 1) Nyamamusango Bio 2) Photo Montage

Special Guests

We are pleased to have had the company of Pasipamire Gunguwo from Zimbabwe. Pasi keeps quite busy crossing Canada from BC to Toronto and back again. He has been playing Marimba, Mbira and Djembe for many years and is featured on several recordings.

We have also been joined by Charles Mzite from Zimbabwe. Charles conducted workshops with us in Kingston and Toronto in Fall 2001 and danced for us when we opened for Zimbabwe's Black Umfalozi.

We have had opportunity to do workshops with Alport Mhlanga (2002) and recently with Ted and Ona from Marimba Muzuva (2003).

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All content copyright L. Hurley 1999-2005