silimba xylophone, by Crispin Mutanuka

4 years ago

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Crispin Mutanuka is the master silimba (= xylophone) player of the Leya people. They live near the Victoria Falls in Zambia’s Southern Province, having migrated from the Luba heartland in southern Congo some five centuries ago. The 10-note xylophone is called silimba, as are the xylophones of the Lozi in Western Province which can have up to 17 notes. I first recorded Crispin in 1996, and again in 2010 and 2011 – he is featured on the cd SWP 041 ‘Zambia Roadside 2’ with two wonderful tracks (available via ). And I recorded him again on 15/09/14 and made this video so you also see some of his mastery: how does he create at least three layers with just two mallets?! He is 83 years old here. He is also the Mukuni Palace silimba player.


The Struggle Continues

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