Keys & Cutting, Buzzers, Decoration, Supporters

Today Sekuru finished the matepe.

After all keys were in place and tuned, Sekuru took them out one by one to file in the “scars” – decorative grooves on the upper side which also helps to keep the keys in place below the bar. He polished each key with the file and cuts off the top bit before putting it back.

Filing the “scars”

With the mbira being basically finished, Sekuru started decorating it in his favourite styles.

Outlining the patterns
Heating up metal bits to burn in the decoration

After finishing the decoration, he used the fire to burn the loose bits within the bell resonator.

Finally Sekuru added a piece of tin with bottletop buzzers.

The finished matepe

Now the only thing left to do is to “break in” the matepe by intense playing, and tuning it up once in a while. Sekuru says its sound and (sometimes very dominant and off-scale) overtones are still going to change a lot, merely by playing.


5 responses to “Keys & Cutting, Buzzers, Decoration, Supporters”

  1. Rodrigo Laje avatar
    Rodrigo Laje

    Hello! Makorokoto!! Congratulations for such an amazing job you are doing. For those who love Shona and mbira culture, this is a great contribution to this world.

    Is not easy to find much information about this instrument, which has become so extrange due to so few people who carry on this culture..

    Myself I’m a mbira maker from Argentina, who loves this art so much. It’s almost impossible to get one of this instruments so I really would love to make my try and make one Matepe, and start this journey of kaleidophony… On this website I can find really usefull information to start this journey from my home… Sometimes is not easy to have the oportunity to fly there to live the experience and learn, but the Mbira and the Matepe can make it possible from where my feet are standing!

    Thank you so much again!!

    I have a question, where can I find an explanation or a diagram of the tuning?.. or measurements of the gwariva, bridges, keys, etc… Thanks again!

  2. Dear Rodrigo, thanks for your message. You can find layout information here:

    For rough measurements, you can refer to the pictures in the instrument gallery, most of which have a ruler in them

    Andrew Tracey gives exact measurements of Kadori’s matepe in his article:

    In a few months, our documentary videos about matepe making shoudl be ready. We’ll give measurements there, too.

    1. Rodrigo Laje avatar
      Rodrigo Laje

      Ok thank you so much!!

      So, does Chaka makes matepes for selling? Do you know if it is possible to get one, and how much is the price?

      Thanks again!

      1. Yes he does. send me your whatsapp?

        1. Rodrigo Laje avatar
          Rodrigo Laje

          +549 3512 27 57 60

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