A Little Mbira Music

A couple of weeks ago, The Guardian published an article on thumb pianos – mbira, kalimba, etc.  It’s a good introduction, and you can find the full article here.

Most percussionists at one point or another study some form of African percussion – for me, it meant dabbling a bit in Ugandan amadinda music in grad school.  I always wanted to learn to play the mbira, or at least be able to play one song on it.  I love the simplicity of the instrument – it’s delicate tone, the beautiful counterpoint of the traditional Shona music.

After reading the mbira article, I headed over to YouTube to look for some mbira performances.  The first is pretty cool – an ensemble called Hokoyo Marimba from Eugene, OR that plays traditional Zimbabwean dance music.  I would love to be part of an ensemble like this.

The second find was a trip down memory lane.  This is an excerpt from a 1984 Nexus concert in Japan.  Bob Becker was the first person I ever heard play mbira – of course I loved his playing, and wondered if there was any percussion instrument he hadn’t mastered.  I could listen to this piece all day.




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