Tanaka Chikati '25 Releases Debut Album

On Dec. 7, percussionist, vocalist, and gwenyambira (that's Shona for "master mbira player") Tanaka Chikati '25 released her debut album Midzi. The independently produced Afro-pop extended play showcases the Zimbabwean music major, who performs as "SunniChi," as a songwriter and composer—each track is an original composition—and as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. The title is Shona for "roots," and introspection and celebration of her heritage is the EP's unifying theme, lyrically as well as musically, Chikati says. While interlocking, bubbling mbira grooves demonstrate Chikati's fluency in the tradition, her original lyrics, Chikati says, speak to diaspora, Shona identity, Zimbabwean history, and decolonial resistance. 

At Dartmouth, Chikati is a music major and a member of the Coast Jazz Orchestra. Her release of Midzi represents the culmination of work begun in MUS 36 (Songwriting 1, taught by Assistant Professor César Alvarez), continued in MUS 17.07 (Entrepreneurship and the Arts, taught by Brian Messier), and completed with support from the music department's Erich Kunzel Class of 1957 Fund

Read more about Chikati and her new EP on her website and in press features published by My Afrika Magazine and H-Metro.

Listen to Midzi on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, and other music streaming platforms.