- A Google doodle has perked the interest of Mzansi social media users and is now trending online
- It shows the mbira, which is the national musical instrument of Zimbabwe
- The doodle honours and celebrates Zimbabwe's Culture Week
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The national instrument of Zimbabwe, called the mbira, is currently trending on social media. This is after Google honoured it with a doodle to celebrate Zimbabwe’s Culture Week.
The mbira originally came from South America and is made from hardwood soundboard with a series of thin metal keys attached to the surface. It has been played for over 1 000 years within the Shona community, the skill having been passed down over generations. It is played at various Shona wedding ceremonies, weddings and social gatherings.
The ancient instrument was commercially produced and exported by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey from the 1950s onward, popularising the instrument outside Africa.
The mbira became popularised largely due to the success of Thomas Mapfumo in the 1980s, who included mbira on stage accompanying modern rock instruments such as electric guitar and bass, drum kit and horns. Mapfumo's arrangements included numerous songs directly drawn from traditional mbira repertoire.
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The Shona call it the mbira dzavadzimu, which means “mbira of the ancestors”.
Google made an interactive doodle that allows people to learn more about the instrument and it's worth a look.
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