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Google Celebrates Zimbabwe’s Culture Week With Doodle Of The Mbira

Google is celebrating Zimbabwe’s Culture Week with an interactive doodle of the Mbira, a musical instrument traditional to the Shona people as today marks the beginning of the Culture Week.

The game starts by telling the story of a young girl who watched an mbira being played and fell in love with it. She learnt the instrument and at a young age played it before a large crowd who danced to her instrument. She also encouraged young children to learn how to play.


Google users are challenged to play four traditional and modern songs by clicking the right keys when instructed.

Mbira consists of a wooden board, often with a resonator, with attached staggered metal tines. The mbira is played by plucking the tines with the thumbs and fingers while holding the instrument in your hands.

It is played at weddings and at social gatherings, and while it used to be traditionally played by only men, now many women are taking up the instrument.

The mbira lends itself to improvisation and personalisation, which means that no two performances are alike according to The Mirror.

Before creating the Google Doodle, the team visited the Shona people in Zimbabwe to learn about the Mbira instrument.

In the words of the producer, Colin Duffy:

Without a doubt the most enjoyable thing about working on this Doodle was being able to experience and learn about Mbira from the Shona people in Zimbabwe. Prior to this project I could not tell you much about Mbira but the kindness, depth of history, and open-mindedness that the people of Zimbabwe showed our group was life-changing.

Happy Culture Week to the Zimbabweans!

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