African Instruments: the Mbira


The mbira is a wooden instrument topped with metal prongs that is played by cupping the base with your hands and plucking the metal teeth with your thumbs. Some variations are built in, or on top of, gourds to make the melodious sounds resonate. Mbira’s are typically found in East and South Africa, particularly in countries like Zimbabwe. They go by various names, my favorite being the “kalimba,” and they sound absolutely AMAZING! (I actually owned one before my little sister, NuNu, broke it. Ha!)

In this video, British singer-songwriter Tinashé uses the mbira to put a spin on his song “Zambezi.”

Take a listen.



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