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X8 Drums Blog

How to Repair and Tune Your Mbira

Properly maintaining and repairing your mbira keeps it in good condition. But it can be hard to find good info on how to maintain and repair an mbira. In fact, one question that mbira, kalimba, and matepe percussionist Joel Laviolette gets a lot and hasn’t seen any good Youtube videos on is how to fix loose mbira keys. In our latest video, Joel explains how to tune and fix loose keys and also shares some general maintenance tips so that you can keep your new mbira in top shape. How …
27th May 2014 Kaitlin Meilert

What is an Mbira?

The mbira is an ancient, traditional African hand percussion instrument that dates back over 1,000 years in Zimbabwe. The mbira features a soundboard made from gourd or wood with 6 to 33 wooden or metal keys attached to the top. Each key plays a different note. To create different pitches, the keys are positioned at different lengths.When performers depress and release the keys with their thumbs and index fingers, the mbira produces a tranquil, fluid bell-like sound. The mbira also produces c …
23rd May 2014 Kaitlin Meilert

Zimbabwe Matepe Collection at X8 Drums

In addition to kalimbas and mbiras, X8 Drums now offers matepes! Since the matepe is his primary instrument, Joel Laviolette is back to demonstrate and tell us more about our unique collection of handmade matepes.One of the things that makes the matepe so different from other mbiras is that it’s played with two thumbs and two index fingers. Each finger is playing a separate melody at the same time for a total of four independent melodies. When people first hear the matepe, it tends to sound li …
22nd May 2014 Kaitlin Meilert