Bring the sounds of mbira into your everyday life
A Different Kind of Metal Work
The Liquid Melodies of Mbira.
Mbira, dzavadzimu "voice of the ancestors", has been played for over a thousand years. Considered the world's first piano.This instrument consists of a wooden board with attached staggered metal keys. A traditional instrument indigenous to Zimbabwe.
A typical mbira consists of between 22 and 28 keys constructed from hot- or cold-forged metal affixed to a hardwood soundboard in three different registers—two on the left, one on the right.
While playing, the little finger of the right hand is placed through a hole in the bottom right corner of the soundboard, stabilizing the instrument and leaving thumb and index finger of the right hand open to stroke the keys in the right register from above and below.
The fingers of the left hand stabilize the left side of the instrument, with most fingers reaching behind the instrument. Both registers on the left side of the instrument are played with the left thumb and sometimes the left forefinger.
Bottle caps, shells, or other objects are often affixed to the soundboard to create a buzzing sound when the instrument is played. In a traditional setting, this sound is considered extremely important, as it is believed to attract the ancestral spirits.
If you're lucky you will get a chance to hear the magical melodies of mbira played live while browsing our Canimals collection at Eastern Market.
Keep the sounds of mbira floating around your home, car, and workspace! Purchase a copy of Manatho Shumba Masanis' latest recordings, one for you and one for a friend. Music is the gift that keeps on giving and Building Bridges with Mbira offers the perfect soundtrack to your Canimals Safari Collection.