Prototype 1-Chakhare, a ximbvokombvoko relative from the Makhuwa-Lomwe of Northern Mozambique
A family member of African fiddles from Uganda -Prototypes of Mbvoko.
In Lusoga and Luganda languages, Endingidi; Acholi language, Arigirigi. Sheep and goat skins are best for the membrane. Other wild animals of similar kind can be used. Lusambya wood, Macarmia sp. Resin is got from a tree called Muwafu in Luganda language (James Isabirye, 20/07/2019)
Prototype 2 -Endingidi (in Lusoga and Luganda languages from Uganda
Ximbvokombvoko, as it is called by the vaTsonga (tsonga people) of Southern Mozambique, has inspired the design of the instruments below, which cover, Svichayu Svokekela- Lead/high range instrumrnts; Svichayu Svoseketela-Harmonic supporting/midrange Instruments; and, Svichayu Svodhondhoza- Bass Instruments.
Lately, all bases in my music are played on the Mbvoko, which provides me the most accomplished and satisfying warm timbre.
Below, is a mbira built with inbox keys on chanfuta wood (Strycnos espinosa Lam) and a three piece key fixing system. By Luka Mukhavele
Rounding-up Africa: By Luka Mukhavele
As Prof. Tiago Pinto put it across, and I support, "music itself is intangible, its tangible part is the instrument". We cannot attain music without a musical instrument, and, remember your voice is also an instrument. The relationship music-instrument is like soul and body, whereby life would not exist without either and both.
It is the instrument, through its physical, acoustical, technical, visual, and ergonomical features, that co-determines what music we can make. Therefore, instruments are of very high esteem/importance in music. Instruments host and embody music as an invisible form of life, inside them, which is only accessible through perceivable vibrations.
For my late teacher, Dr. Dumisani Maraire, "when you play a mbira, and play it well, after a while you will start to hear additional sounds, which you are not playing. They are played by the spirits that the instrument houses". Thus, the mbira provides a social occasion between the living and their ancestral spirits.
"Our Mission is to produce and share knowlwdge"
Not all the instruments presented in this page were directly built by Mukhambira. However, I feel so rewarded to say that all these instruments were built under the philosophy, Methodologies, techniques, and the auspices of Mukhambira. Those that were not directly built by Mukhambira staff, were built by Luka's students at the Escola de Comunicação e Artes, of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, thus, subsumed under the academic work of Mukhambira. I believe all my former students can clearly identify the instrument that they built.
Instrument is the Home of the Musical Spirit!
Ivan Mucavel, the first assistant in Mukhambira.
By Ivan Mucavele (Moto M'jinja) -a new series of mbiras under construction (Mukhambira)
By Ivan Mucavele (Mukhambira)
Five resonator music bow, with a string equally segmented in five parts –one resonator and one pitch per segment. It was built by Borges, as part of the exam for the Seminar on the Construction of Mozambican Traditional Musical Instruments, a module offered in the 4th year of the Licenciatura em Música Degree, at the Escola de Comunicação e Artes, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo. It remains an unfinished experiment.
Innovation -multiple resonator bows are not typical of the Southern Mozambican region. It is therefore, evident that the student borrowed/got the idea from organology literatures.
Captured at Mukhambira, where it was being further assessed by Luka Mukhavele.
By Borges (Mukhambira-ECA)
Nyakatangali is a traditional music bow from central Mozambique. Although there is a resonator-like part in this instrument, the nyakatangali is a mouth-bow, traditionally fitted with animal skin or vegetal fiber string, and resonated in the mouth of the player. The cocoanut shell, in this case, has a mere decorative function. Captured at Mukhambira
By Ilidio Manyika (MUkhambira-ECA)
By Madala Fernando Nkonani (Mukhambira-ECA)
Xitende with an experimental buzzing system, for visual and timbral purposes. In this system the buzz is lighter than in the usual, with buzzer fitted on metal base. Built as part of exam.
Mbira constructed by Patricio Mahoche, in an experimental design and tuning, as part of exam. Through the 10 years of the degree course at ECA, with about 20-25 graduates per year, there have been only three students venturing into the construction of lamellaphones, because the complexity of their construction process. Although he is a music student, Patricio is a locksmith by profession, which gave him advantage in working with metal. So, he creatively employed his metal working skills in this project, once again, revealing the role of multidisciplinarity in music, in general, and in the construction of musical instruments, specifically. Through this project, the builder contributed valuable technological, technical and methodological ideas to the subject, contributing new approaches and motivations to the construction of musical instruments.
By Patricio Mahoche I(Mukhambira-ECA)
Pankwe/Bankwe, a northern Mozambican traditional instrument, here built experimentally, borrowing from guitar building technique. This Pankwe differs from the traditional versions in a number of aspects: 1) It has four separate nylon strings, whereas the traditional versions have a single long metal string, used/folded multiple times, up and down the fingerboard, into multiple segments with differing tension/length to produce different pitches; 2) The traditional versions' string(s) is(are) completely mounted on the fingerboard, and use moveable bridges for tuning, whereas this one has guitar tuning pegs; 3) The traditional versions’ fingerboard is usually fitted on the open top of the resonator, going across its diameter/full length and tied against it with a string; and sometimes inspected through so it protrudes from the back of the resonator-like spießlaute- where it is firmly locked against the resonator. However, this one has its fingerboard fixed on the front side of the resonator, like a guitar.
By Ivan Mucavel (Mukhambira)
Xigubutani is a single string bow instrument from the south of Mozambique. NOTE:There is a missing part in this picture, which is a stick with a string on whose free end a tin is tied. The other en of the stick, the free one, is inserted in the hole in the box (2), on the left of the picture. To play the instrument, the player sits down, usually on the ground, holding down the can against the end of the fingerboard-like piece (1), with his feet, forcing the stick to bend into a bow, and tensioning the string in the same manner as a ground bow. To play the instrument, the player plucks the string with his right hand, pushing the bow up with his left hand, to increase/decrease the tension of the string, to raise the pitch; or down to decrease the tension, lowering the pitch. The Xigubutani is closely related to the Nyanpikid’ongo (fig….), from the north of Mozambique, having the same mechanical principle and playing techniques. However, their main difference is that the former has a fingerboard-like part, which is laid on the ground, whereas the later is made simpler –a can, and a string, and a stick forced into a bow by the tensioned string; and, in the later, the bow is put and held under the players thigh. Another similarity between the two is in the plucking as the sound producing method, and the use of the can as the resonator.
By Felisberto Mahese (Mukhambira-ECA)
Nyampikid‘ongo from the province of Cabo Delgado (northern Mozambique), built by graduate student of the Escola de Comunicação e Ártes, Eduardo Mondlane University, as part of the requirements for the completion of the module of Mozambican Traditional Musical Instruments Cunstrution, lectured by Luka Mukhavele
Pankwe/bankwe During my fieldwork I found some people calling the pankwe a viola or rabeca. It became very common in Mozambique that every instrument with a fingerboard, resonator and strings, is called a viola. The builder of this instrument borrowed from the principle of the guitar. However, unlike the previously presented pankwe, this one has the strings fitted completely on the fingerboard, and the fingerboard crossing the diameter of the resonator; and, the resonator is not completely open on top. Similarities between the two are: the use of multiple strings, instead of a single string going up and down the fingerboard multiple times, and the application of tuning pegs, instead of moveable bridges. Whereas in timbral terms the two types of resonators have not been of major concern for the builders, the use of a metal resonator caters for two things: 1. the rarity of natural calabashes for resonator in Maputo City, and the availability of recyclable materials, as the can used for that purpose; and, 2. The relative fragility of the natural gourd, as compared the toughness of the metal can. Thus, the metal resonator has a big advantage in the actual situation of a student, who needs to build a bankwe in Maputo City. The instrument was built by Patricio…. a student from Cabo-Delgado, the northern-most province of Mozambique, where bankwe is a traditional instrument.
Ngororombe pan-flute used in Nyanga dance. They are made from Mitete (river bank reeds) from the Zambezi River in Tete, a province which inherited its name from these reeds. Ngororombe is traditionally performed in Nyanga, a socialization/recreational dance, from Tete and Manica Provinces of central Mozambique, and spilling over to Zimbabwe, in a hocketing style. The resulting music is characterized by complex interlocked textures, intercalating and interweaving the instruments and its player’s voice, and the dance steps, and it is choreographed in a rotating circle, which goes back and forth and mostly commenting on current issues, as a form of critic, commentary, education and news propagation.
By Timoteo Cuche (Mukhambira-ECA)
Boobam constructed by ECA student Belonging to the first group of graduates at the ECA’s Music Graduate Degree, Luis Filipe borrowed from the principle of the Ngororombe. In his presentation he pointed out that the criteria for his choice of the material was resistance, as in many cases instruments do not last long enough to be explored, due to the fragility of the raw materials.
By Luis Filipe Fumo (Mukhambira-ECA)
The term Ndhondhoza, the name given to this instrument, means –deep sounding voice/instrument. Thus, the instrument was named on the grounds of its sound register. Ndhondhoza is a rope string bass built by Luka Mukhavele in Mukhambira, as an experiment on recycled/reused material. The box and strings were acquired from a flea market of discarded/disposable furniture, packaging, and hardware material; the tuning pegs from a music shop; and the pickup built from a piezo disc. The inspiration came from the one-string-bass, once seen in childhood, but again met in the Dar Es Salaam Ethnomusicology Symposium, performed by Dr. Moya Malamusi in his band with Prof. Gehard Kubik and two other Malawian musicians. Also known as Babatoni in northern Mozambique and Malawi, the one-string-bass is was once widespread through lower southern Africa, mostly used in Khwela, Simajhemajhe, and other local musical genres from the region. The Ndhondhoza
By Luka Mukhavele (Mukhambira)
Fiber Mbira resonator from Mukhambira Ethnomusical Fiber resonator has become a very practical alternative to the fragile and ever scarce natural gourds.
By Luka Mukhavele (Mukhambira)
Svigoviya (pl. of xigoviya)
Svigoviya in singular Xigoviya. On the right made from masala, and on the left from coconut. The experiment was aimed at exploring the coconut as a harder and tougher material for xigoviya, which, because of its spherical shape does not have a base, and thus, falls very frequently. No scientific analyses/comparisons of the two have yet been carried out, apart from the mere observable shapes and physical toughness/hardness of the materials.
Xikhitsi made experimentally from palm leaves, as part of exam Here the student tried to explore the use of palm leaves, as an alternative to the thlongwe, the traditional type of grass used to make the instrument. However, because palm leaves are too flexible, the instrument is not practical –it is too floppy -. It was, nevertheless a worthwhile experiment, as it served to discard palm leaves as raw materials for the construction of xikhitsi. Built by Crizalda Xirindza, as part of exam.
IMGP4963 An experimental design of a shaker, which has been successfully used in performance.
Berimbau made by ECA student Berimbau differs from Xitende in the style of the ends of the sticks (narrowed in Xitende) and position of the calabash (central in Xitende)
Experimentally made with a hollow body, by putting wood sheets together to form a box; and, the Keys are made from metal sheets cut in lamellae, instead of wire.