Unlikely duo takes on Europe

Stango and Nongoma

Comprising a Filabusi-bred girl who discovered her voice in church and a Bulawayo orphan who taught himself how to play marimba, Stango and Nongoma are no ordinary group.

The duo has been praised for their masterful blend of the inimitable spiritual sounds of the mbira and guitar together with use of the majestic sounds derived from Ndebele tradition music.

As magnificent as their music is, the duo is still a growing phenomenon in Bulawayo. Last week however, they took a giant leap towards the superstardom that their talents demand after they jetted off to Europe for their first international tour.

The group will perform in Austria, Slovakia and Germany. They embark on their first tour after launching their debut album Thatha online this April.

Hailing from two vastly different backgrounds, their life stories intersected because of their love for music and culture.

Nongoma comes from Filabusi where she discovered that she had music in her DNA while singing in church and grew through the desire to experiment with her vocals. Inspired by other female Afro Jazz woman vocalists, she challenged herself until she found a style that was uniquely hers.

In contrast, Stango grew up in an orphanage in Bulawayo where he taught himself how to play marimba, mbira and other percussion instruments that include the djembe.

He also went on to master the guitar. On meeting Nongoma, he taught her how to play mbira and they have since grown and learnt together.

“Our songs are inspired by a spiritual element that is inside all of us,” Nongoma said.

“We can’t wait to perform in Europe for the first time, as a child, I always dreamt of performing in front of people and share my talent. Our songs inspire us in their different subject matters, from motivation, our love of music, revelation to questioning the ways of the world today and a call for peace, love and harmony,” said Nongoma.