Mhumhi Records

Rattletree Marimba

Rattletree Marimba

Rattletree is a six-piece Zimbabwean style marimba band based in Austin, Texas. They play high-energy dance and trance music that is guaranteed to get the dance floor moving from the first song! In Zimbabwe, dance is an integral part of spirit-possession ceremonies and they have spent more than 1000 years perfecting the intense grooves that Rattletree is blessed to transmit to its audience.

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Rattletree Marimba

Rattletree Marimba: Live EP

(2007, Length 22:41, vinyl sleeve.)

Rattletree is the most recent step on the path of a musical journey that was begun by Joel Laviolette in 1994. There have been many members along the way, but the soul and bones of the music remain firmly grounded in traditional Zimbabwean music. Joel is now based in Austin, Texas, and has formed a marimba and matepe band-the worlds first. Joel has transferred the complex and sacred music of the matepe onto the marimba. Two marimba players play the music that one matepe is capable of playing. These marimbas are then accompanied by an interlocking matepe part-giving the complete sound of two matepe players playing together.

The next organic step has been to add more marimbas to the group. From a driving six-foot tall bass marimba, baritone, tenor, and two soprano marimbas, the full musical range can now be explored. This is held together with the pulsing beat of drumset and hosho (shakers). The dancers of Austin are ready!

To read more about Rattletree or to see where they are playing, go to their Website:


  1. Chikende (5:17)
  2. Kari MuDande (6:50)
  3. Nhemamusasa (10:34)


  • Joel Laviolette: Marimba
  • Gred Radcliff: Marimba
  • Carson Barker: Marimba
  • Sean Ziegler: Drums, Marimba
  • Mark Casey: Drums, Marimba
  • Dave Di Blasio: Marimba