At first glance, one might be surprised to know that Chris Berry has sold more than 1 million albums in Africa, but
appearances can be deceiving.
Berry's musical roots trace back to the ghettos of Zimbabwe, where he lived for 10 years studying the mbira, a thumb
piano with 29 keys, and immersing himself in the ancient rhythms of the Shona, the indigenous people of the region.
After losing most of his band to HIV/AIDS and Zimbabwe's brutal regime, Berry narrowly escaped the country in 2000. He
returned to his native U.S. and kept the music alive first with his band Panjea and now the more danceable CB-3. Berry
was honored in Africa as the first non-Zimbabwean to receive the title of Gwenaymbira" or one whose music summons the
CB-3 fuses Berry's African musical roots with dance-hall reggae and funk with drummer Aaron Johnston and bassist Jesse
Murphy of Brazilian Girls fame providing the rhythm. Murphy also played with John Scofield's Uberjam.
Berry's electric mbira, which he developed, is the only instrument of its kind and produces the distinctive sound that
characterizes CB-3's music.
CB-3 offers a mix of the modern and the ancient, with traditional African rhythms resonating through the contemporary
effects and heavy electronics.
The trio often invites guests to join CB-3 onstage. For much of the Colorado leg of CB-3's current tour, including
tonight's show, Michael Kang, mandolinist for String Cheese Incident, will sit in with the band.