Especially among the Venda people: a marimba, an African xylophone with wooden keys and hollow gourd resonators.
[1901G.M. Theal inP.R. KirbyMusical Instruments of Native Races (1965) 47The best and most musical of their instruments is called the ambira, which greatly resembles our organs; it is composed of long gourds, some very wide and some very narrow, held close together and arranged in order.]
1928 inA.M. Duggan-CroninBantu TribesI.i. Pl.15 (caption)The mbila, the finest and most perfect of the Venda musical instruments, consists of a number of carved wooden slabs of from three to four inches wide and of various thicknesses, which are beaten with india-rubber hammers by one or two players. The sounding-board consists of a number of calabashes, the apertures of which are closed by thin membranes of thick cobweb.
1931H.A. StaytBaVenda 316Drums and wind instruments, chiefly pipes and horns, form a band for most dances, and are, with the mbila, the instruments of social value.
1931H.A. StaytBaVenda 320Players of the mbila are becoming increasingly rare; formerly every chief had a player in his village, who, in the evenings, would often amuse the chief and his guests with his instrument.
1934P.R. KirbyMusical Instruments of Native Races (1965) 47Two varieties [of xylophone] are met with, the first among the Venda and the second among the Tshopi. Both are called by the same name, mbila, and both are constructed on the same principle.
1985S. Afr. Panorama MayThe Venda xylophone, mbila mutondo, can be played by as many as four musicians at once.
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