Nathan Beck

Director of Zimbabwean Music Ensemble

A percussionist for 30+ years, Nathan Beck graduated from Lewis & Clark in 1992 with a BS in Sociology/Anthropology and a minor in music. Prior to his studies at LC, Nathan was involved with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps (1986-88). After graduation, he heard Boka Marimba, a local band that plays contemporary Zimbabwean marimba music, and was completely taken by the sweet melodies and funky rhythms. In a few short months, Nathan was playing with Boka and studying the roots of the Shona music. His study of Shona music since the early 1990’s includes lengthy stays in Zimbabwe and study with mbira masters Cosmas Magaya, Garikayi Tirikoti, and and Tute Chigamba.

Nathan has been a member of Boka Marimba since 1992. He and Marian Grebanier founded the mbira group Njuzu. Nathan has taught at the Zimbabwean Music Festival, Camp Tumbuka, as well as many Portland area schools. He directed the marimba program at Sellwood Middle School from 2014 to 2022. Currently, he teaches marimba and mbira at Lewis & Clark College.