Lamellophone Kankobele


The lamellophone (here Luba) is perhaps, along with the slit drum, the most characteristic musical instrument of sub-Saharan Africa.

Its name varies according to the regions: sanza, likembe, mbira, or derived names. The term “sanza” itself comes from the local name “nsansi” which the Nyungwe and the Manganja of Mozambique designated their instrument, and which D. Livingstone has, in his
Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambezi and its Tributaries (1865), distorted to “sansa”.

Since then, the latter term has been used to refer to all lamellophones regardless of type.
These instruments being then unknown in Western musical culture, written sources have, from the 17th century, used various names, such as that of “thumb piano” that colonials, missionaries and other travelers took up in their texts.
A somewhat unfortunate name since the comparison with the piano is inadequate: those who baptized the instrument thus were undoubtedly inspired by the analogy that can be established between the strips of iron or bamboo pinched with the thumbs, and the piano keys operated with the fingers.

It goes without saying that such a popular instrument comes in various shapes and types.


Provenance: Bernard Darsch

Dimension: 33 x 6,5 x 6 cm
Weight: 0,3 kg.

SKU: 0009 Category: