The Chinyakare Ensemble

The Chinyakare Ensemble is a family of musicians, dancers and teachers committed to preserving and sharing traditional Zimbabwean culture, and promoting community building and education through music and dance.  Chinyakare presents an electrifying performance of the traditional dance, music, and culture of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.  The music (played on mbira, ngoma, marimbas, and chipendani), songs, and dance weave colorful stories that show scenes from everyday life, while teaching important life lessons, such as goal-setting, perseverance, and thankfulness. Chinyakare provides audiences with a glimpse of the beauty, excitement, and spirit of traditional African dance and song.


Julia Tsitsi Chigamba, founder and director or the Chinyakare Ensemble, grew up in the rich cultural traditions of Shona music and dance. She is the daughter of the highly respected gwenyambira, Sekuru Chigamba, and a longtime member of Mhembero, the Chigamba family dance and mbira ensemble, as well as the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe. Julia came to the US in 1999. Two years later, in Oakland, California, she established the organization Tawanda muChinyakare and the music and dance company Chinyakare to share the beauty and wisdom of her culture in the US. Julia continues to teach dance, music and culture in Oakland schools and in the community.