Karimba/Nyunga Nyunga


The karimba is a small, 15-keyed instrument that is widespread in the entire Zambezi river area. Scholars such as Andrew Tracey have proposed that an 8-keyed version of this instrument is the oldest known type of mbira, as evidenced by variations of the same eight note layout found in the tuning plans of many other mbira types, including the mbira dzavadzimu, matepe, and some forms of njari. In North America, the instrument is generally known as nyunga-nyunga, due to the influence of Dumisani Maraire, who first introduced the instrument (and Zimbabwean music in general) to students and audiences there. There is some controversy over which is the real name of the instrument, and many Zimbabwean musicians are now also using the term nyunga-nyunga. However, being as there is also a traditional instrument called Nyonganyonga, which has nothing to do with the instrument at hand, karimba seems to potentially be a much less confusing term.


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