Blog June 26, 2020
Oran Etkin and Musekiwa Chingodza Perform “Nhema Musasa” As Clarinet-Mbira Duet

Oran Etkin is an itinterant clarinet and saxophone player who can be found most Wednesdays (under normal circumstances) playing with the West African retro-pop outfit, the Mandingo Ambassadors, at Barbes in Brooklyn. But Etkin is a renowned musician, world traveler and educator, as he demonstrated with the on-going Timbalooloo project, which Afropop covered when it took him to Zimbabwe.

Today, we're following Etkin back to the southern Africa country for the latest video from yet another of his projects: “Open Arms.”

Featuring collaborations and recordings made while Etkin toured and filmed around the world, the first two videos in the series were shot in Rio de Janeiro with Danilo Caymmi and guitarist Davi Mello. The third video, released today, moves on to Marondera, Zimbabwe, where he visited in between tours of France and Zimbabwe. With Musekiwa Chingodza on the mbira, they recorded the traditional Shona song “Nhema Musasa.”

Check it out right here:

Bliss, right?

Etkin explained the concept behind the videos in a press release:

“Open Arms to me is an attitude...It’s felt in the warmth with which I was greeted in each country and how we welcomed each other into our musical worlds. It is at the core of how we approach making new music together with open ears, unafraid to discover a new side of ourselves outside our comfort zone. And it’s also an answer to the rigid isolation of hate and fear that has been growing in the political discourse all around the world, in almost every country I’ve traveled to.”

And I've got more good news. In July, another single will follow, featuring the whole Chigamba family as well as fellow Zim musicians Sam Mataure and Marcos Varela, complete with a professionally shot music video. In August, Etkin is releasing a full Open Arms Zimbabwe album. Keep your ears and arms open.

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