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INAH Exhibition at SRE Displays African Musical Instruments

MEXICO CITY.- Kenya and Mauritania governments donated 3 musical instruments to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) that represent both countries traditional cultures; the pieces, made out of natural fibers and animal skin, were received by authorities of the National Museum of Cultures (MNC).

The donation was made through the Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) and received by anthropologist Leonel Duran Solis, director of the National Museum of Cultures, which prepares the exhibition “A Continent of Music: Africa in Mexico” where the musical instruments will be displayed.

The traditional musical instruments are one 8-cord lire named nyatiti from Kenya, and 2 harps from Mauritania named ardite and tidinite, which can have up to 30 cords each.

SRE and INAH look forward to strengthen bonds, and the exhibition to be open in October 2009 in SRE facilities is a sample. “A Continent of Music: Africa in Mexico” will display these 3 instruments among others, mentioned Leonel Duran, director of the National Museum of Cultures, when receiving the pieces from Sara Valdes, SRE general director for Africa and Middle East.

“MNC heap has been conformed thanks to the good will of many countries in the world, as donations or in exchange. Echbih Ahmed Saleck, honorary consul of Mexico in Mauritania, and Joseph Nyamungu, ascribed to Nairobi National Theater, in Kenya, sent to our embassies at their countries the musical instruments”, declared Duran.

“Besides strengthening diplomatic relations between African and Middle East countries, we are interested in knowing their history with their point of view; this kind of exchange enriches culture of involved countries”, declared Gema Becerril Zamora, chief of MNC Divulgation Department.

The National Museum of Cultures has 479 musical instruments in its heap from the 5 continents, classified by their regional origin, material or use. Due to restructuration of the museum, the new pieces will be classified by their geographic zone.

Ethno musicologist Guillermo Contreras collaborates with INAH designing this classification and organizing museography for the upcoming exhibition at SRE where part of NMC collection will be displayed.

Nyatiti is an instrument from West Kenya and some zones of Tanzania, created by Luo tribe, the third ethnic group in Kenya. The new instrument is almost one meter long, has 8 cords and its sound box is decorated with natural white and red pigments.

The Mauritanian instruments are known as koras, between harp and guitar, with several cords united to a half sphere-shaped sound box and a wooden neck. Both instruments were baptized by Griot –musical narrators similar to Middle Age jester- as ardine and tidinite, being the first one played only by women and the second only by men.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | Foreign Affairs Ministry | Leonel Duran Solis | Mauritania | Echbih Ahmed Saleck | Joseph Nyamungu |

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