My name is Christopher Muchabaiwa and this is the story of my music.
I was born in Zimbabwe and started my music career when I was just 6 years old. Music was always around where I grew up and my first musical instrument was the marimbas. The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. Although I grew up seeing my uncles playing mbiras, I was hooked on the marimbas. As I was developing my skills, I moved to the guitar and I perfected it until I could write my own songs and create my own riddims.
In 1997 I joined The Blacks Unlimited band under the leadership of Dr Thomas Mapfumo, a Zimbabwean musician known as "The Lion of Zimbabwe" and "Mukanya" for his immense popularity and for the political influence he wields through his music, including his sharp criticism of the government of President Robert Mugabe. He both created and made popular Chimurenga music and his slow-moving style and distinctive voice is instantly recognizable to Zimbabweans.
Mapfumo's subtle yet clear political and social messages led to his arrest by the Ian Smith government. Large demonstrations in protest of his arrest and an inability to trump up charges against him forced the government to release him after three months. This also meant that Mapfumo and his band were forced into exile.
These were exciting, influential and dangerous times. From an article titled Zimbabwe: House of Exile, the painful words rang true for me… “The decision to more or less permanently leave home is a gut wrenching one. For months on end, families are torn apart as they debate whether to uproot everything and leave or stay with an uncertain future. This was the case for millions of Zimbabweans between 2000 and 2008”.
In 2004, I came to the USA The Blacks Unlimited and have continued to play the music that means so much to me, to Zimbabwe and to the world.
Almost a decade after leaving Zimbabwe, and having played amazing shows around the world including our recent show at Carnegie Hall, I felt it was time to put my own band together. De Solution Band plays World Music with an amazing blend of African, Reggae and Soulful dance sounds. The music is multi-faceted – the mbiras and guitars blend together to make danceable music with a rhythmic groove; the lyrics (in both Shona and English) bring the past and the present together as De Solution for the future!!
Historically, the music of Zimbabwe was representative of every aspect of life in Zimbabwean culture, from birth, through the trials and events of living, to death. Music was used as an instructional tool to emphasize the virtues of events such as the passage into adulthood, marriage, hunting and going to war. Traditional music in Zimbabwe was used to forge relationships between individuals and families.
Music in Zimbabwe has survived the cultural invasions and protest years of the past decades, and in its place has emerged a new and modern sound. This sound is De Solution Band and the artist that bring this sound to you are:
Christopher Muchabaiwa - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gilbert Zvamaida Mhofu - Lead Guitar and Vocals
Parker Chase Koehn - Drums
Chakaipa Mhembere - Mbira
Tony Walters - Bass