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Art of crafting and playing Mbira/Sansi, the finger-plucking traditional musical instrument in Malawi and Zimbabwe

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The Mbira/Sansi instrument are a family of musical instruments, traditional to the people of Zimbabwe. They consist of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs (at minimum), the right forefinger (most mbira), and sometimes the left forefinger. Musicologists classify it as a lamellaphone, part of the plucked idiophone family of musical instruments. The "Art of crafting and playing Mbira/Sansi, the finger-plucking traditional musical instrument in Malawi and Zimbabwe" was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020. The transmission has occurred through apprenticeship within the family circle. Currently, transmission also takes place through formal coaching, and Mbira/Sansi making and playing is taught in some schools. The songs contain important messages, with some guarding children against bad behavior while others condemn negative behavior in the community for example.

Information of intangible cultural heritage

Category : Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Number : 01541

Year : 2020

Venue : ZIMBABWE

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