Sub-Saharan Africa

Mbira music of the Shona people in Zimbabwe

Lamellophones can be found in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Regarding their morphology and local names many different forms exist. Among the Shona, the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe, lamellophones range among the most important traditional musical instruments. The one called mbira is seen as an emblem of traditional Shona culture. It is mainly played during ceremonies invoking ancestor spirits but also for personal enjoyment. The popular music style of the Shona called Chimurenga is heavily influenced by mbira music. The features and principles of traditional mbira music have been investigated extensively by Gerd Grupe who has published a monograph on Die Kunst des mbira-Spiels (The Art of Mbira Playing) in 2004.

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