Stay tuned for our music coming out soon...
Ima Express' music is born out of the blend of guitar driven Zimbabwean sungura music with the improvisational sensibilities of jazz musicians of different backgrounds to create compositions that push the envelope of both styles yet a performance which is energized and approachable by anyone.
We collaborated in a multi-cultural band consisting of musicians from Burkina Faso, France and Venezuela, each one emerging from a different musical background in order to bring an ambiguous and modern sound, yet retaining its deep roots in African traditional music.
The interleaving lines played by two guitarists in sungura music naturally create a strong rhythmic motion. Ima Express' compositions are mainly based off this unique guitar playing and composition technique, commonly referred to as ‘shona’ guitar or ‘sebene’. These lines, when joined by the rhythm section, create a solid beat which is contrasted by the violin’s vocally inspired melodies and improvisations.
Despite growing up in an Ashkenazi-Jewish family in Israel, I have always been fascinated by other genres of folkloric music. Growing up, I loved entertaining myself musically by attempting to play new styles of non-classical music on the violin. Early on, it was African traditional music that particularly intrigued me while later in my musical explorations I discovered additional contemporary African artists like Fela Kuti, Orchestre-Polyritmo De Cotonuo, Tsehaytu Beraki, Bombino and more. Within recent years, I have discovered Zimbabwean contemporary pop genres such as sungura, soukous and chimurenga and fell in love with the music of artists like Alick Macheso, Thomas Mapfumo, The Khiama Boys and more.
To me the sebene or shona guitar lines are the African equivalent of the classical European counterpoint, and I am always fascinated to see how modern African musicians take this rather complex composition technique and make it sound so high-energy yet concise. Furthering the borders of this guitar style while facilitating the violin in the genre feels to me like a great opportunity for discovering new sounds that had not yet been explored while keeping the music very approachable to all sorts of people.