Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa is a Zimbabwean gwenyambira, composer, singer, scholar and healer. Her craft is grounded in the Chivanhu ancestral canon taught to her by the generations of Svikiro (spirit mediums) and N’anga (healers) in her bloodline. Her work calls for a reintegrative practice that heals the spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual disembodiment caused by the 600-year colonial war waged against her people. During her fellowship year, Tanyaradzwa will compose Mudzimu Dzoka — a biomythographical, multi-disciplinary performance piece detailing her re-embodiment of Zimbabwean ancestral practices as a panacea for colonial disembodiment. She will also produce an auto-theoretical article in a comic book format called Cultural Vampires: White Exploitation of Zimbabwean Mbira Music.
Tanyaradzwa earned her B.A. in Music Composition at Princeton University (cum laude), her M.M. in Voice Performance from the University of Kentucky and is a doctoral candidate in Voice Performance.
Songs from the Heart
As a Princeton student, Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa ’14 received an Alex Adam ’07 Award from the Lewis Center. In this video, Tawengwa talks about the many ways in which Princeton helped her pursue her dream to become a performer. Read the full feature story from Princeton University in February 2013. Article by Jamie Saxon, video by Nick Barberio.