Ugandan musician invents new instrument | Songlines
29 March 2018

Ugandan musician invents new instrument

By Alex de Lacey

A 22-stringed instrument based on the Ugandan bow harp is officially recognised as an instrument in its own right

SsewaSsewaplayingJanzi©James Ssewakiryanga3.jpg

Ugandan musician James Ssewakiryanga Jr has invented a new instrument. The janzi (pictured) has 22 strings with 11 tuned diatonically on the left side of the instrument with pentatonic notes on the right. It was constructed by Ssewakiryanga with a view to “reflect the current interests and trends of the people in Uganda.”

The janzi is based on the Ugandan bow harp, the adungu, and was officially recognised as an instrument in its own right in 2017 by the Ugandan government. He is currently touring Europe performing on the instrument, with a view to set up a teaching school in his native Uganda upon his return, sharing the janzi’s capabilities and performance techniques that he has developed.

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