from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An African musical instrument consisting of a hollow gourd or wooden resonator and a number of usually metal strips that vibrate when plucked.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of several musical instruments, similar to a marimba, having a small sound box fitted with a row of tuned tabs that are plucked with the thumbs.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A South African musical instrument allied to the zanze.
This year there was marimba, mbira which is a type of traditional thumb piano, pop singing, classical singing, African drums, dance and instrumental.
It sits beside a thumb piano, or mbira, I received in the Kalahari.
Yet on Mr. Bona's windowsill sits a Grammy Award for guitarist Pat Metheny's 2002 album "Speaking of Now," on which Mr. Bona sang and played percussion; and beside it is a Les Victoires du Jazz, the French equivalent of a Grammy, for his 2006 "Tiki," on which he played five different instruments in addition to bass—from guitar and keyboards to the mbira, a thumb-piano common in many parts of Africa.
Anyway, there's also an interesting mix of mbira music by women from Zimbabwe.
When I interviewed Nora Balaban who studied mbira in Zimbabwe, she told me of a master player named Garikayi Tirikoti who was living only a few city blocks from me.
Garakayi is in Zimbabwe now, but he is returning, and he wants to put together a 28 piece mbira orchestra.
He sat down on my floor and immediately set about educating me in mbira lore.
One of its jewels is the music of the mbira, an instrument that has been used for thousands of years for spiritual practice as well as for purely musical gatherings.
It is through the mbira that that the ancestors are called upon to intercede for the supplicant.
I have to say that being in the same room with a master of Garakayi's caliber, listening to the mbira is pretty intense.
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