Chill and Play the Zimbabwean Mbira Today with Google Doodle
Ever tried playing a Zimbabwean mbira? Well, now is your chance. It's Zimbabwe’s Culture Week, and Google Doodle is celebrating by giving users an opportunity to interact with their own little mbira.
What is a mbira?
The mbira is an instrument with several metal keys, and is pretty minimalistic in terms of architecture and design. Unlike common western instruments such as the piano or guitar, the mbira produces a very unique sound. When we tried it, it felt like a hybrid between clouds and magical water. Historically, the mbira got popular in the 1980s largely due to "The Lion of Zimbabwe", Thomas Mapfumo. He was known for using music as a means of spreading political influence, and was an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe's government.
What did Google Doodle's mbira feel like?
Pure bliss. There really was no other way to describe the feelings of engaging with this particular Google Doodle. After hitting the large play icon, users watch a cute animation then are able to play on the mbira. The doodler who was responsible for the artistry behind the mbira doodle stated: "We wanted to make sure to reflect the culture of Zimbabwe and the mbira as accurately and respectfully as possible but without reappropriating the history of it."
During such a hectic time with the current pandemic, this doodle was definitely a pleasant surprise for a regular May Thursday. The timing couldn't be more perfect. It definitely showcases the vibrant culture of Zimbabwe, and brings a sense of serenity to a world of craziness.