"Stella Chiweshe - Mystic Sounds from Inner Space If colonialism is on its last gasp, in Rhodesia, it seems capable of holding its breath for a very long time. It’s the early 1950s and an eight-year-old girl can hear drums, loud powerful drums, that rock her world and accompany the mbira she is listening to. Only, no one else can hear the drums." www.fly.co.uk "
A double CD from Stella Chiweshe, one labelled Trance Hits, the other Classic Hits. So much is clear. But listen as I might, it's surprisingly difficult to arrange any critical thoughts about her music. It exists so much in itself, a complete system, upfront and straight forward for all but still magical and elusive, that it's hard to listen to it in any other spirit than the one for which it was intended. The mbira or thumb piano, small and unassuming instrument from which Ms Chiweshe weaves her sonic fabric, is in Zimbabwe more than an instrument: it is the means through which communication with the spirit world is made possible. This is eminently plausible. Just to take in the somewhat ghostly plinky-plonk notes of the splayed metal tongues, rolling in changing sequence like pocket church bells, is already to take a step out of the ordinary world. This sound can be most effectively incorporated into modern groove music- and like the West African kora, it transforms what it touches." fROOTS 03-2006 "
Apart from being a virtuoso musician---her playing forms much of the backbone of both discs, although never flashily, but the underpining of it all---she's also a powerful and persuasive singer, one of the great, if largely unknown, African artists of her generation. This collection, which gives her the chance to show her wares at length, truly does her justice, because she's an artist best heard at length, and explored in proper depth to be fully appreciated." Sing Out! "
The mbira - a metal toothed thumb piano - was a taboo instrument for Zimbabwean women before Stella Chiweshe took it upon herself to change all that. And for the past 40 years she's been perfecting her skill on this hypnotic instrument, developing a loyal fanbase throughout the world whilst playing anywhere from major concert halls to weddings and funerals. CD1 of 'Double Check' consists of new recordings and has more of an ambient, trancy vibe.CD2 has a poppier more urban feel: it's a kind of greatest hits and even includes a track from a 1998 John Peel session. But the one constant throughout this collection is the hard to describe, but easy to listen to, intimate, percussive liquidity of the humble mbira." Metro, Howard Male, 20.02.06
"Piranha has done itself and Chiweshe a service by providing the second disc in this set, a "Classic Hits" collection of thirteen pieces mostly recorded from 1988-1990 in Europe with her Earthquakes band. (Chiweshe made the first recording on the German label, which is now celebrating its 100th release by returning to where it started.) It's interesting to hear how much this archival material is oriented toward danceable rhythms, song form and the electric mbira sound. If, as the liner notes claim, "Zungunde" (disc two, track seven) was improvised in the studio, then this band had a really impressive natural chemistry, because it comes across as a fully organized but also spontaneous jam. "Chachimurenga" takes political struggle to a plateau of reverberant bass and mbira-based groove. The liner notes go a long way to explaining the message behind the music, as well as Chiweshe's own ideas about things, and they're a mandatory stop on the way to fully appreciating this music." All About Jazz, May 2006