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Julia Tsitsi Chigamba, founder and director of the Chinyakare Ensemble, grew up in the rich cultural traditions of Shona music and dance. She is the daughter of the highly respected gwenyambira, Sekuru Chigamba, and was a longtime member of Mhembero, the Chigamba family dance and mbira ensemble, as well as the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe. Julia came to the US in 1999. Two years later, in Oakland, California, she established the organization Tawanda muChinyakare and the music and dance company Chinyakare to share the beauty and wisdom of her culture. Julia continues to teach dance, music and culture in Oakland schools and in the community.

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