Tag: kwela

Kwela: Nelson Makoka and Solomon Sibiya

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

Central to kwela music is an instrument known as the pennywhistle or tin whistle. Malawian immigrants to South Africa and Zimbabwe mixed their music with southern African sounds and thus was kwela born. Many of the best practitioners preferred the Hohner whistle, which was popular before the advent of the modern variety with its plastic mouthpiece. The Hohner whistle consisted of a straight metal tube with a metal plug that sealed off the end to make the mouthpiece. This allowed the instrument to be inserted deep into the mouth and led to the characteristic embouchure that produces the distinctive timbre of kwela. Take it away, Nelson!

Hohner Musikinstrumente GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of musical instruments, founded in 1857. The company is identified with harmonicas and it produces more than a million of them a year, but Hohner also makes accordions melodicas, kazoos, recorders, banjos, guitars and electric/electronic keyboards. It’s innovative keyboards such as the Cembalet, Basset and Clavinet and the ADAM Digital Synthesizer helped form the sound of modern music.