Definition of mbira in English:

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Pronunciation: /(ə)mˈbɪərə/


(Especially in southern Africa) another term for thumb piano.
Example sentences
  • The album is made entirely from a multitracked mbira (thumb piano) and occasional rhythmic accompaniment.
  • These songs conjure a sense of community and activity with their lively mbira parts and the ecstatic singing, making the mbira an instrument of sociality, festivity, and fierce activity.
  • The artist's brother makes mbiras, the musical instrument intimately associated with possession ceremonies; his grandfather carved head rests; and his mother was a potter and his source of inspiration.


Late 19th century: from Shona, probably an alteration of rimba 'a note'.

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