Traditional sound reborn in Kirby Collection

09 November 2010

Renowned as the most significant archive of traditional Southern African musical instruments in the world, the Percival R Kirby Collection was re-opened to the public this September.

The re-opening of the collection forms part of the UCT South African College of Music's centenary celebrations, and is set to draw researchers and students to the school from around the world to study the one-ofa- kind archive.

Umrhubhe and uhadi bows, umtshingo flutes, Zambian drums chiselled out of tree trunks, a tortoiseshell guimbri lute from Morocco and a Hausa "talking drum" are just some of the many instruments in the collection, comprising about 600 pieces – some dating to as far back as the late 1800s.

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