TIP: Playing “Mahororo” on the African Karimba – 2 / 5

This traditional mbira song transfers well to karimba

Click to download the full PDF tablature for “Mahororo”

“Mahororo” is usually played on the mbira dzavadzimu (commonly called the mbira), and is one of the classic songs that fit the chord progression described by Andrew Tracey in his seminal 1973 paper “The System of the Mbira” which studies in depth the ages-old mbira playing of the peoples he and his father Hugh studied for decades . This implies that “Mahororo” is probably one of those “old songs” – meaning it may be something like 500 – 800 years old.

Ivodne Galatea pointed out that it could be played on the karimba. With several arrangements of “Mahororo” under my belt, I am happy to present here the tablature for my latest and best arrangement of the song, which you can follow on YouTube.

In my new book, “About 30 Traditional African Songs for the Hugh Tracey Karimba”, there are two different versions of “Mahororo”. After the book was published I went and made a YouTube video of a new version that was nothing like either of the published ones. I was very familiar with the song, and had internalized its structure. I then was able to create my own version improvisationally.

My friend Bela said “I like your version best, Mark!” I wanted to share it, but the problem was that it was in my head and on video, but not in tablature.

Not until now. I went through the video and transcribed which notes go where, and now everyone can learn to play my new version of “Mahororo” on karimba.

The times near the lower right corner of each stanza of tablature refer to the time in the video where each particular variation starts. The first cycle shown below begins at 0:28.


Click Tab for PDF download.

Download MP3 of Cycles 3 & 4 at Slow Tempo

The video below is “at tempo” – meaning, yes, you can see what I am doing, but I am playing pretty fast, so hold on tight!

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