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Joyce Jenje Makwenda Interviewed

Joyce jenje makwenda

Stamps Dis­tin­guished Speaker Series guest Joyce Jenje Mak­wenda speaks with Christo­pher Porter in an inter­view for the Ann Arbor Dis­trict Library’s arts blog, Pulp.

It’s approx­i­mately 8,000 miles from Harare, Zim­babwe, to Detroit, Michi­gan. But music and cul­ture scholar Joyce Jenje Mak­wenda feels like Motown’s daughter.

Motown raised me,” she said. I’m a child of Motown music.”

Mak­wenda owns one of Zimbabwe’s largest archives of music-related doc­u­ments, from news­pa­pers and pho­tos to vinyl records and instru­ments. The Joyce Jenje Mak­wenda Col­lec­tion Archives allows schol­ars to research the rich his­tory of Zim­bab­wean music, from folk music played on the mbira (thumb piano) and the town­ship jazz that dom­i­nated much of the mid-20th cen­tury, to the mod­ern protest sounds of Thomas Mapfumo’s chimurenga music.

She’s also the 2017 Zim­babwe Cul­tural Cen­tre of Detroit research res­i­dent — in part­ner­ship with U‑M’s Penny Stamps Dis­tin­guished Speaker Series and Harare’s Njelele Art Sta­tion — which is why she’s in Michi­gan this sum­mer inves­ti­gat­ing the influ­ence of Motown music on her home country.

Mak­wenda will dis­cuss her research with EMU’s Dr. Melvin Peters on Thurs­day, June 22, at 6 pm at Cul­ti­vate Cof­fee & Tap House, 307 N. River St., Ypsilanti.

When Hitsville Hit Zim­babwe: Music scholar Joyce Jenje Mak­wenda | Pulp