The activities of the MBIRA non-profit organization include:
Offer mbira instruction in the formats of private lessons (including over Skype and FaceTime), weekend intensive workshops, and one-week residential Mbira Camps for adults and teens.
Teach and perform Zimbabwean traditional music at K-12 schools and universities.
MBIRA recordings library
Record, process and catalog a library of recordings of traditional Shona music, and make these recordings available to the public through sales of recordings to universities and individuals. Proceeds of the sale of each recording go to the Zimbabwean musicians who performed on each recording ($12 goes to the musicians, $7 to MBIRA’s expenses, $1 to payment processing, as compared to $1 to the musicians on a typical commercial recording). Support for musicians on the hundreds of recordings include recordings royalties, donations, and food deliveries in times of extreme hunger in Zimbabwe.
Obtain mbiras from Zimbabwean instrument makers for mbira students and universities. Proceeds go to the instrument maker, though MBIRA has a $50 mark-up which covers our expenses to tune and maintain mbiras after arrival in the US, and do the bookkeeping. The instruments are often in poor condition after traveling 10,000 miles through the mail in marginal packing materials, so fixing them up is an important part of what we do.
Organize mbira tours
Sponsor and organize tours by Shona mbira players, including visa sponsorship and soliciting targeted donations for this purpose. Support US tours by additional Shona mbira players by organizing concerts and workshops and publicizing them.
Donate mbiras to Zimbabwean schools
Support mbira education in Zimbabwe by donating instruments to Zimbabwean schools and pay mbira teachers.
Mbira study in Zimbabwe
Provide help to students traveling to Zimbabwe to study traditional music, including information on music teachers, lodging, transportation, etc.