The mbira is a 22 to 24-key African instruments made of a wooden soundboard and metal keys. The mbira originates from the Shona people in Zimbabwe. The Shona people are made up of several sub-groups such as the Zezuru, Kore’kore and Ndao, who speak their own dialects and also make specific mbira variations. Variations can be found in the tuning, layout and playing style of the mbira.
The Shona name for the 22-key mbira that we are making at Juma Instruments is mbira dza vadzimu, which means ‘Voice of the ancestors’. This type of mbira originates from the Zezuru sub-group.
At Kalimba Shop we feature two traditional types of mbira dza vadzimu:
The Nyamaropa tuning mbira dza vadzimu, tuned in major with mixolydian scale (flat 7th).
The Mavembe tuning mbira dza vadzimu, tuned in a minor key.
We make different types of mbira and custom tunings on request. To view the mbira instruments we currently have on offer visit our category: Mbira
Diagram of the tuning of the mbira dza vadzimu:
Nyamaropa mbira dza vadzimu in G Mavembe mbira dza vadzimu in G
Juma Instruments are made by Zimbabwean instrument maker Dingiswayo Juma. They are quality and solid instruments that can last you a lifetime. Every metal mbira key is hammered by hand and tuned with a tuner to ensure they are in pitch and can be played with other instruments. The soundboard is made of quality hard wood and artistically crafted into shape.