Piwai was our MC for the State of Flux event we had at MOCAD in 2019. Piwai, a Zimbabwean American musician and fashion designer lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Her chilling vocals and hypnotic sound have been described as spiritual nirvana. A captivating performer, she bends genres to seamlessly flow from jazz, reggae or folk to pure African rhythms, moving listeners to physically feel her music, creating a trance-like rhythm that balances consciousness. Piwai wows audiences across the globe with her soulful voice and genre-fusing melodies. Fondly known as the girl with the African thumb piano, the mbira, Piwai was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Her love of music is influenced by hermulticultural Southern Africa and gospel exposure in early childhood. During and after college years in the US, Piwai trained as a jazz vocalist at the Jazz School of Berkeley. She’s studied with world-renowned vocalists such as Vernon Bush, Raz Kennedy, Maye Cavallaro, and Frankye Kelly.
Piwai has since been under the tutelage of maestros and the incomparable percussionist, Yagbe Onilu, and conguero, Butch Haynes. Piwai collaborates regularly with Fantastic Negrito, playing percussion on his 2017 Grammy Award winning album “Last Days of Oakland.”