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date: 18 November 2019


  • J. Gansemans,
  • K.A. Gourlay
  •  and F.J. de Hen


Single-bar Xylophone of the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resonator is a large, spherical calabash with the stem end cut out. Two bow-shaped pieces of wood are attached to the hollowed shell with wax, one on either side of the opening, and a hardwood bar, about 40 cm long, is hung between the bows over the opening by thin laces of antelope skin. The bar is struck with a rubber-tipped beater. By moving the left hand under the bar alternately with regular striking, the player decreases the size of the opening and obtains a slight change of tone. The Luba call this instrument didimbadimba or kidimbadimba; the Bemba, Sanga, Shila and Zela call it mbila. Among the Luba and Shila it is associated with hunters of the buyanga sect, who play it during ceremonies to invoke spirits for success in the hunt and protection of the hunter.


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O. Boone: Les xylophones du Congo belge (Tervuren, 1936)