Coeurimba History and Factoids
Coeurimba, formerly the Coeur d’Alene Marimba Band, is known throughout the Northwest for its exciting performances. The band plays a collection of rhythmically intense traditional and modern songs, primarily originating from Zimbabwe.
Coeurimba plays high-energy dance music on large wooden xylophone-like instruments called marimbas. Combining both a melodic innocence and rhythmic sophistication, these traditional African sounds will get everyone's toes tapping and feet moving.
The band’s music relies on oral tradition and themes often reflecting everyday Shona life, both traditional and sacred. Most of the teachers live far away so Coeurimba gets together with Zimbabwean teachers once or twice a year for instruction. The players perform between 25 and 30 songs prepared for the performance season and 3 or 4 usually under construction. Coeurimba has worked up several of its own compositions, and arrangements of familiar songs.
The earthy tones of the marimbas make a remarkable, captivating sound. Each marimba is a different size and voice. The largest and deepest is the bass, which is almost the size of a mini van, and the player must stand on a bench to reach the bars with his mallets. The smallest and highest is called a soprano marimba and in between are the tenors and baritone. Band members move around to play different marimbas and will sometimes pair up to play on a single instrument. The marimbas hold up quite well despite the beating they take at performance and at workshops. Only exotic hardwoods are used for keys, due to the superior tonal quality. One big change from traditional instruments is the PVC pipe underneath the keys that amplify acoustically, replacing the fragile gourds used in Africa.
The Coeur d'Alene Marimba Band came together during the 1980's after its founder, Thomas Orjala, saw the phenominal Dumisani Maraire perform at Seattle's Folklife Festival. Coeur d'Alene group later modified its name to Coeurimba and has gone on to play at folk and arts and crafts festivals, community events, cruises, and school events from Victoria to Eugene, the Tri-Cities to Missoula, up to Nelson B.C. and everywhere in between.
Coeurimba’s CD, KNOCK ON WOOD ~ Coeurimba Live is still available.
For more information and booking contact:
Tina Gospodnetich or Sally Eilering-Sorenson