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Lesson 2: Learning “Pamuromo paHaruna”

Aim: How can a song be used to tell a story?
Summary: Students will learn to sing “Pamuromo paHaruna,” explore the storytelling in the song, learn the mbakumba dance, and discover traditional instruments from Zimbabwe.
Materials: Musical Explorers digital resources, Musical Explorers Student Guide
Standards: National 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11 NYC 1, 2, 3, 4
Vocabulary: gwenyambira, mbakumba, mushandirapamwe

“Pamuromo paHaruna” is from a genre of songs that are sung at parties and celebrations for fun and recreation. These songs are played with a different kind of mbira called a Nyunga Nyunga, or “sparkle sparkle.” It has fewer keys than the Mbira dzeVadzimu, and the pitches radiate out from the center. The gwariva is embedded in the deze, and the gwenyambira holds the instrument by cupping their hands around the gwariva.

Tanyaradzwa Teaches “Pamuromo paHaruna”

“Pamuromo paHaruna” Demonstration

Zimbabwean Mbira artist Tanyaradzwa teaches “Pamuromo paHaruna.”

Sing “Pamuromo paHaruna”

  • Listen to the audio track “Pamuromo paHaruna.”
  • Learn the lyrics using the audio track “Pamuromo paHaruna” pronunciation.
  • Sing the chorus using the audio track “Pamuromo paHaruna” chorus, and learn to sing the refrain using the audio track “Pamuromo paHaruna” refrain.
  • Notice that the song is also in call-and-response form. The call is called the kushaura line, and the response is called the kutsinhira line.
  • In the chorus, your students can focus on learning the kutsinhira line, but they can also learn the kushaura line and take turns singing each. In the refrain, your students will learn just the kutsinhira line, notated below. The kushaura line is improvised.

“Pamuromo paHaruna”


Haruna wo-iye wo-iye-ye-ye?
Haruna wo-iye wo-iye-ye-ye?

Pamuromo pa Haruna!
Werende hinde hinde ‘nde!





Haruna do you hear me?
Haruna do you hear me?

Ah! Haruna’s big mouth!
Haruna talks too much!

Do you hear me?

Yes, we are listening!*

*Note that wo-iye has a different meaning
in this context than in the previous phrases.

Discover Storytelling in Mbira Music

  • Tanyaradzwa explains that it is essential for the gwenyambira (mbira player) to be a great storyteller as well as an accomplished musician. In between singing the song, the gwenyambira will tell an improvised tale based on the lyrics.
  • The phrase “Wo-iye,” which means both, “Do you hear me?” and “Yes, we are listening,” is the storyteller checking in with the audience to confirm that they are listening.
  • This song lovingly teases a person named Haruna (the name is gender neutral) who loves to talk.
  • As a class, make up a story about Haruna based on the lyrics to the song. Some possible guiding questions include:
    • Why do you think Haruna loves to talk?
    • What do you think Haruna might talk about? Does Haruna say funny things or have important messages to tell? Is Haruna just very friendly?
    • Are there other people in the story and what do they do when Haruma talks a lot?
    • What happens at the end of the story?
  • Have each student tell a part of the story. When students get to the end of their parts, each can sing the “Wo-iye” call and response.

Explore the Mkabumba Rhythm and Dance in “Pamuromo paHaruna”

  • Mbakumba is a harvest dance that expresses gratitude for the food on our tables.
  • Learn the basic mbakumba step using the video on Tanyaradzwa’s artist resource page. Notice that the rhythm of the feet and hand clapping mirrors the rhythm of the lyrics.
Creative Extension

Practicing Mushandirapamwe

  • Mushandirapamwe is a Zimbabwean concept that means “working together as one.” It teaches the importance of people from different places and backgrounds coming together, celebrating both unity and diversity. Mushandirapamwe embodies what it means to be a good human being.
  • In the 1970s, Tanyaradzwa’s grandfather, Matemai George Tawengwa, established the Mushandirapamwe Hotel—a legendary place to this day—where musicians come together to play music and support the Zimbabwean liberation movement.
  • Guide your students in discussing the concept of Mushandirapamwe and how it relates to their lives.
    • What does Mushandirapamwe mean to you?
    • How can we bring the idea of Mushandirapamwe to life in our classroom, school, home and community?
    • What challenges can we address using the idea of Mushandirapamwe?
Literacy Extension

Thoko, Wake Up!

Based on the Ndebele nursery rhyme “Thoko, Thoko Vuka,” Thoko, Wake Up! features Thoko, a brave, young Zimbabwean girl who has fun and amazing adventures in which she learns about her culture and heritage.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words gwenyambira, kushaura, kutsinhira, mbakumba, and Mushandirapamwe to the Musical Word Wall.

Image Credits

Victoria Falls photo by Fabio Achilli is licensed by CC BY 2.0

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