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date: 22 November 2019


  • K.A. Gourlay


Anthropomorphic horn of the Bembe people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is always played as part of an ensemble that includes three smaller horns of the same type. These are differentiated according to size by names derived from family relationships. The mampongui-nguenbo as the largest is the father, the nsoni-bungu the mother, the lembe-nsoni the daughter, and the mpandi-nsoni the son. Each instrument is carved from a single piece of wood, with the air column in the part representing the body and the embouchure at the back between the arms. The horn is held by gripping the forearms of the figure from the rear and holding it upright in front of the player so that the carved head stands above the head of the player. This applies to the three largest horns; the fourth is held horizontally. The ensemble is completed by two transverse horns of different sizes made from the roots of the wild coral tree (...

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