A happy caravan of musicians brought together by a mutual love of the Zimbabwean mbira, Ombiviolum draw on genres as diverse as folk, reggae and classical music.
Spearheaded by renowned movement artist and mbira player Denise Rowe (Spirit Talk Mbira, Baka Beyond), other members include the young talents Ben and Alfie Weedon on violin and bass, multi-instrumentalists Iwan Kushka and James Watts, percussionist Allan Kerr and the strings and vocals of Becky Doe, Ailsa Hughes and Bella Lilley.
From spacious and spellbinding tracks that sweep you away on a great tide of polyphonic melody, to upbeat dance tracks full of sunshine and song, Ombiviolum is like nothing you will have encountered before. The mesmerizing melodies of Zimbabwean mbira meld seamlessly with folky riffs, funky bass lines and soaring classical strings.
Recent gigs include Bristol Harbourside Festival, Bath Fringe, Quest and Totnes Festival.
Traditionally an instrument embued with spiritual power, the haunting syncopations of the mbira have a magical quality, with the ability to transcend the mundane and lift us up, above the pressures and struggles of everyday life. Popularised by Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited, in Zimbabwe mbira music has come to symbolize the positive, natural forces at work in the world and connection to the wisdom of the ancestors.
Ombiviolum is about finding the place where traditions meet, making space for a new way of thinking about life and music, African and non-African. It’s about finding healing and reconciliation for these two continents, Africa and Europe, between which there has been so much history.
Mbira music has been increasingly gaining popularity in the UK, but is still a bit of an insider tip, and audiences react with enthusiasm and amazement to the rich textures and polyrhythms.
"When we really listen to mbira music, we hear sounds and voices that aren’t even there. The Ombivioulum is our way of bringing these sounds to life."