Millicent Chapanda (Milli Chapanda) is a proud cultural artist with a vibrant mission to bring the lived experience of women in Zimbabwe onto international world music stages.
Millicent continues to defy all odds, and the stigma previously associated with women mbira players, as a soloist. Milli’s mbira playing and singing style is distinctive and appreciated in many prestigious venues, performing at the highly acclaimed Moseley Folk & Arts Festival 2018, Afrika Festival Hertme 2018, The Symphony Hall (THSH) 2019, Rush Hour Blues – Jazzlines 2019, Shambala Festival 2019, IKON Gallery 2018/9, Sofar Sounds Manchester 2019, Journeys Festival(ArtReach) 2018, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) 2018/9, Birmingham Museum & Arts Gallery 2018/9 to name a few, Sofar Sounds Manchester 2019.
Traditional Mbira Player
In performance, although her music goes deep into ancient Shona cultural heritage, it’s clear that Milli is keen to sing out loud on gender issues and the societal barriers affecting women in the diaspora & back in Zimbabwe, and this gives her fine performances a real cutting edge onstage.
A Milli Chapanda show is above all a celebration of rich African tradition embodied in a Shona-style, that calls on those dancing ancestral spirits to rise through the trance of mbira’s cascading sounds to the pull of the voice & the insistent pulse of the deep ngoma drum & hosho shakers.
Milli’s rich repertoire affords her to perform with different ensembles and collaborative projects. Milli also collaborates with Anna Mudeka as ‘Sisters in Mbira’ duo. She displays her versatile musicality in ‘Africa Calls’ trio, with Senegalese master kora player, Kadialy Kouyate and Ivorian Master drummer, Henri Gaobi. Milli does not shy from other experimental projects such as Ideas of Noise in 2018. Milli also performed with the renowned late mbira maestro Chartwell Dutiro, as a duo and his Spirit Talk Mbira ensemble.
Millicent joined, recorded and toured the length and breadth of the UK with Batanai Marimba Band and World Muzik Makers from 2000 to 2006 and played in prestigious venues such as the Barbican, festivals including WOMAD, rural touring and the Channel Islands.