Nzango Artist Residency

Based in Mozambique 🇲🇿


Nyanga Interview

“Nyanga began in the 12th century. Our great-grandfather when he went to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. When he came back here from Zimbabwe, he started making Nyanga, but it wasn’t this Nyanga, it was Nyanga from reeds from the Zambezi or Luenha river. Again when our great-grandfather was going to Vila Pery, at the time in Nha Ntunzi, Vila Gouveia, managed to pick a bamboo, this one looks like reeds. He started cutting, because it was hard to keep wetting the reeds. So bamboo was a natural instrument that didn’t require water, that didn’t need to be watered.”

“This instrument here I play, it’s my wisdom, the other one also plays your wisdom, then we’re going to put that together and it’s like a wind piano. Nyanga doesn’t need its own site for play. Whether it’s on the plane, when you admit you can play… [you play]. The total should be 36 people, for now we are 24 artists playing Nyanga.”

“Nyanga is not only here in Mozambique. For example, my Nyanga on the entire road of Mozambique has already run: it starts from Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Xai-Xai and Gaza, Niassa, Manica and Sofala, Inhambane, Chimoio, here in the Tete center, in the districts of Cahora Bassa when the dam was delivered. When the Nyau Gule Wamkulu world heritage ceremony took place the Nyanga was part of it, first in Zambia and second here in Mozambique and Macanga. Foreign countries, starting with Nigeria, me with Nyanga: Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, repeated Zambia, some countries in Europe, France, Brazil and Belgium.”

“Then he began to teach his sons, the youngest and the oldest. And when I was born I joined the group, I’m here (to this day). All my great-grandparents lost their lives and I’m also continuing with Nyanga dancing and manufacturing. Now, in the absence of money, we have already invented. We, as Nyanga makers, started manufacturing with electrical pipes.”
“This one is called cherene, the name of cherene was our shield from a long time ago, money already. Shield = cherene, name of the instrument, but the meaning is shield [money]. In Mozambique at that time, to get five hundred or 50 cents was very “massada” (difficult). The maestro is talking about his suffering, and says “I fled from my province of Mozambique, at the time it was a district, to Rhodesia in search of shield (money)”.”

“Thanks. Nyanga is an instrument that has the history of Mozambique, Nyanga is like a military band.”