Copyright © 2024 Fowler Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Sitemap Privacy Policy

Admission is Free | Open Wed–Sun


X87.521 Lamellophone


Object Name: Lamellophone
“thumb piano”
Place of Origin: Zimbabwe
Cultural Group: Shona peoples
Materials Used: Wood
Dimensions: H: 23.0 cm, W: 21.5 cm, D: 6.2 cm ( H: 9.0 in, W: 8.4 in, D: 2.4 in)
Credit line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X87.521

Instead of shells, this instrument uses bottle caps to produce a buzzing sound. Mbiras are not always played with gourd resonators, and given the fragility of the gourds themselves, some musicians have replaced them with fiberglass skeuomorphs of the same color as the gourds. Aside from the bira rituals, Shona lamellophones are performed in a variety of popular entertainment contexts, and women performers have now joined what was previously an all-male domain.

Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 241

SKU: X87.521 Category:

Stay Connected