Lamellaphone musical instrument, thumb piano
Place of Production
Democratic Republic of Congo, end of the 20th Century
Number of pieces
Those musical instruments called likembe (plural, makembe) in Lingala are from the lamellaphone’s category. This name is used to describe the way the sound is produced: by depressing with a finger the thin plates and then allowing it to slip off, the player makes plates vibrates. To play likembe, the musician holds it with his two hands and uses both of his thumbs to activate the plates and produce a sound resembling that of a guitar. The likembe plays a key role in entertainment. It is used to sing or to dance. It is also used by griots (traditional narrators) to praise important people.