Mbira: Anand Prahlad at the State Historical Society of Missouri

Video by Kevin Walsh


Photo by Shane Epping

Mbira video demonstration

Mbira demonstration and interview with Prahlad, by Ben Wieder, The Missourian.

About the mbira

The mbira, also known as the African thumb piano, is a musical instrument created and performed by the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Made of metal keys attached to a wooden sound board, it's played in religious ceremonies and social gatherings. Bottle caps attached to the board vibrate when when the keys are plucked, producing a sound that is believed to attract the spirits. For amplification, an mbira player might play the instrument inside a carved gourd known as a deze.

Prahlad plays the mbira at Orr Street Studios


Photo by Allison Smythe

Prahlad plays the mbira at the Catacombs Art Market

Photo by Genevieve Howard