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João Sande de Ntothoto (João Nyamabangwe) 1942-2022Bangwe, Kalimba mudoko, and guitar player Phone of his son Titos Sande: +258 87 134 7919
Place of residence: Nhanzonia, Barwe district, Manica province
BiographyJoão Sande de Ntothoto, also known as João Nyamabangwe, was born in Búzua, Tambara district. He belongs to the Vabuzva community of the Tonga people, like his parents who are also from Búzua. His totem is Chirenje. The praise name "Nyamabangwe" refers to his playing skills on the bangwe, but he also played kalimba mudoko and guitar. Sekuru Nyamabangwe passed away in 2022, the information on this page is from his son Jeremias.
About the BangweThe bangwe is a board zither from central and northern Mozambique and Malawi. A single wire is stretched from end to end through holes in the soundboard, resulting in 7-14 playable strings. There are various tonal systems and playing techniques, including strumming while muting the unwanted strings. In central Mozambique, the tuning is [generally near equi-] heptatonic, according to Andrew Tracey. The open strings are plucked with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands, and the repertoire overlaps with the region's lamellophones. Mbira music was played on stringed instruments long before the advent of the guitar! Jeremias explains that the bangwe was originally played for both spiritual and entertainment purposes. In recent times, many people have converted to Christianity, and some players, including his father, continue to play bangwe for church activities.
Sande's musicJeremias agreed to publish his father's recordings as part of this project. His father had a large traditional repertoire, but after joining the church, he was no longer allowed to play his old songs that were not related to the church. He can only remember a few traditional songs:
- Mizimu tionenimbo (~Spirits guide us)
- Mudayenderatu vasekuru (~You have gone forever, grandfather)
- Remekedzani ubare (~Respect family ties/relationships)
- Kusiya chikharilhe kuribe kuipa (~Diversity isn't bad)
Jeso arikubwera (~Jesus is coming), with Dona Gilda Mandigo
Anabwera pomwe mbuya yeso (~Jesus will return to save us) Pt.1
Anabwera pomwe mbuya yeso (~Jesus will return to save us) Pt.2
Unknown song 1 (audio only)
Unknown song 2 (audio only)
Unknown song 3 (audio only)
Jeremias João SandeBorn in 1990, he grew up learning the guitar. When he started, he remembers, the bangwe was considered an old instrument that is no longer in fashion.
Nyamabangwe's instrumentThis bangwe was made by Sekuru João's younger brother who lives in Búzua and also plays the instrument.
Bangwe tuningHere is a string-by-string recording of Nyamabangwe's instrument.
Bangwe tuning pt.1
Bangwe tuning pt.2