Gwenyambira, Percussionist, Composer

SunniChi lives and breathes music. Influenced by greats such as Chiwoniso Maraire, Oliver Mtukudzi and Beyonce, her evocative mbira music invites introspection, exploring themes of culture, home, and decolonization. She showcases her versatility as part of the Coast Jazz Ensemble at Dartmouth College, delving into free jazz and improvisation. Tanaka's artistry extends beyond music, as she is driven by her aspiration to empower young African artists, nurturing their skills as they envision an African future.

About SunniChi

SunniChi is no stranger to enthralling audiences. Commencing her musical journey in 2012, she was awarded honors by the National Institute of Allied Arts as a solo beginner and intermediate mbira player. She excelled as a tenor marimba player in a six-piece marimba band that gave captivating showcases at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. In 2022, she opened for creative flutist Nicole Mitchell in Hanover, New Hampshire. In September 2023, she opened for the 11th Zimbabwe Mbira Festival, further solidifying her standing in the music scene. She has performed alongside gwenyambira Dr. Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa and the Mushandirapamwe Arts singers at Princeton University. SunniChi is a two-time Dartmouth College Music Department’s Erich Kunzel Award. 

Majoring in music with a focus on African music and production, she harnesses her craft to advocate for African culture and provoke contemplation on social issues. Her work was featured on a Google and Arts and Culture exhibit on Redefining Womanhood, an exhibit showcasing African talent through music and photography. Her compositions, often sung in Shona, underscore the resilience and significance of the mbira—a sacred Zimbabwean instrument symbolizing resistance against attempts to eradicate it, especially by women like the late Mbuya Chiweshe who fought for inclusivity in the mbira community.

Her dream is to build an institution of the Arts and own a record label to empower and support creative artists in Zimbabwe. 



Press photos


SunniChi has just released her debut EP titled “Midzi”- a Shona word for Roots. Midzi is a three track project that celebrates SunniChi's heritage and identity as a Zimbabwean woman. Her song lyrics speak about living in the diaspora, displacement, decolonial resistance, and black joy.  The music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Features and Interviews

Unspoken Articles May 2024 Issue

Martin Kativhu

"Some people don't have anyone to talk to about their heartache, so at least they can listen to this and find comfort"