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TEDxNUS - Ty Constant and Serene Seow - a performance on the African instrument, the Mbira

Ty Constant with the assistance of Serene Seow brings to attention a novel music instrument, The Mbira Dzavadzimu. The focus is on the instrument, an instument with not just a quirky name but with a intersting history and purpose. The Mbira Dzavadzimu has been known to be in existence for close to a millennium, originating from Africa, in particular Zimbabwe, it has unique properties. The instrument doesn't fall under the classical instumetnt classification, it is played with thumbs and fingers tapping metal keys to produce notes very similar to Western music. In Africa, the instrument is used for entertainment, ceremonies and Bira - a night long trance inducing event. Requiring an ensemble and invoking heav audience partcipation make the music itself fun. Ty Constant highlights two oximorons that best describe the instrument and the music it generates. He says that the instrument embodies "complex simplicity" and "simplistic complexity". The reason being, the short cycles and the unique sounds generated for aesthetic purposes by novel attachments such as bottle caps. What adds greater complexity is how different variation techniques produce a depth to the sounds. Cumulatively, the interesting facets of the Mbria Dzavadzimu have a drawing power that pulls people into understanding and appreciating the unique sounds.
Length: 16:18

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