The Yesango Story

Since 1997 Yesango Marimba Ensemble of Port Townsend, Washington has delighted audiences with the intricate rhythms of Shona style marimba.  This infectious music has fans up and dancing to traditional songs and compositions by contemporary musicians, including members of Yesango.

The band began while taking marimba workshops with Michael Breez, founder of the Rufaro School of Marimba and Musasa Marimba Band.  Michael had been a student of Dr. Dumisani Maraire, then an artist in residence at the University of Washington, who introduced the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe to the Pacific Northwest in the late 60's. Yesango members have changed over the years with 6 of the original workshop attendees continuing to play on an ongoing basis. 

In addition to many local events including the Wooden Boat Festival, Low Tide Festival and the Kinetic Sculpture Race, Yesango Marimba Ensemble has performed at regional venues throughout the Puget Sound area including the Zimbabwean music festivals in Victoria, B.C., Port Townsend, and Seattle. They have also played at the Oregon Country Fair, the Juan de Fuca festival, and are yearly favorites at the Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach.  Yesango recorded their classic CD “Yesango--Growing in the Wild” in 2002, followed with “Playing in the Wind” in 2007 . 

            The following are quotes from listeners discovering the magic of the music.   “I happened on your wonderful concert at the Kingston farmers' market… As you played Siyakudumisa, the music and magnificent sound was an unexpected thump on my soul.  I've been playing your CD every since.”  “Fantastic music, Thanks for the great entertainment.” “I love listening to and watching you all perform !!!!” “Even my 6 mo. old grandson pays attention when your cd is on.“  “Had such a wonderful time listening to you at the Farmers Market in Port Townsend.  I bought one of your cd's and I’m drumming away while driving.”  And this from 9 year old Spencer. “I like your music.  It makes me feel like a little hamster jogging into town.”  We hope you too will enjoy the music!

 

Ranchera "Homestead" listen to Ranchera by Yesango Marimba Ensemble 6:25, 6.01MB, MP3
Composed in 1966 by Alport Mhlanga Astazio
This is a lively joy-filled, danceable tune with a Latin-American flavor.
Nora Regan, lead.

Taurai Zvenyu listen to Tauri Zvenya by Yesango Marimba Ensemble 4:15, 4.27MB, MP3
Composed by Paul Matavire & Jairosi Jiti Band. Arranged for marimba by Paul Mataruse.
A song that talks about someone saying to their back-stabbers, "Fine, just keep talking and see where it gets you."
Ellen Falconer, lead.

Yesango - Growing in the Wind

Jabberwocky listen to Ranchera by Yesango Marimba Ensemble 5:06, 4.7MB, MP3
Composed in 2000 by Stanley Sitnik
Stan wrote this tune without any knowledge of the poem by Lewis Carroll.  He just liked the word. An audience favorite!
Pat Carter, lead.

Siyakudumisa listen to Tauri Zvenya by Yesango Marimba Ensemble 8:25, 7.8MB, MP3
This South African choral piece, a song of praise, was arranged for marimba by Michael Breez.  A moving piece, it touches many with its deep beauty.
Yesango is joined by the Victorian Chamber Singers on vocals. Pat Carter, lead.

For copies of Growing in the Wild and Playing in the Wind, or for booking and performance information, contact Yesango at PO Box 1001, Port Townsend, WA 98368. CDs are $18/each, which includes shipping to destinations within the continental US. Or email yesango@juno.com for more information or to get on the mailing list for our event schedule.