The entire world is happily playing Mbira today, all thanks to the google doodle. Mbira is a 1000 year old musical instrument. It is made from a handheld hardwood soundboard (gwariva) and a series of thin metal keys. The keys are plucked by the thumbs and forefinger.
According to newsweek.com, the Mbira originated in southern Africa. It has played a key role in the traditions and cultural identity of Zimbabwe’s Shona people. The website also stated that the instrument features prominently in Shona ceremonies and is a crucial link to the past.
It is a way of playing songs that have been passed down for hundreds of years. The mbira was traditionally played by men. But in recent years Zimbabwean women have started playing the instrument. They are pushing its sound in a contemporary direction.
Mbira is a specially made musical instrument. A large hollow gourd (deze) amplifies the sound. Materials like bottle caps or beads can be fixed to the soundboard. They create the mbira’s buzzing sound. The buzzing sound is an essential part of the instrument. It adds depth to the tones and increases the volume.