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Zimbabwe's Spritual Instrument

Suzie Lechtenberg

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In Zimbabwe this weekend, Robert Mugabe is expected to be sworn in as president after an election that our own president has called illegitimate. This after widespread reports of violence against the political opposition.

These days, when you think of Zimbabwe, the elections are probably your first thought. But for a lot of people, their first association is the mbira -- a musical instrument that's also called a thumb piano. It's a flat piece of wood with metal keys that you pluck with your thumbs and index fingers.

The Shona people in Zimbabwe use the mbira not just to make people dance, but as a way of summoning and communicating with ancestral spirits. Shona make up the majority of the people of Zimbabwe, and this music is central to their lives. There are many people living in the United States who play mbira -- we tracked a couple of them down.

  • Music Bridge:
    Artist: Erica Azim
    CD: Earth Healing (Relaxation)


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Paul Novitski

    From Winlaw, BC, 11/03/2008

    Three good sources of mbira CDs are:


    By Joel Laviolette

    From Austin, TX, 06/28/2008

    You can get my solo CD at my website: www.rattletree.com. There are also many other mbira CDs available at cdbaby.com. Just go there and do a search for "mbira".
    Thanks for listening!

    By Mary Roth

    From Harrisburg, PA, 06/28/2008

    Is any of this soothing music available on CDs?

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