Ngoni West African Harp (Electric Acoustic!)
So very excited for our partnership with Motherland Music, who have made it possible to offer these incredible Electro Acoustic Ngonis to the Beautiful Sounds community! They can be played both acoustically or electrically, giving us many ways to bring this instrument into our sound work, performances, recordings or simply personal enjoyment. These Ngonis are made by a group of expert instrument artisans living, playing and crafting in their home country of Mali, West Africa.
We love Ngoni because the pentatonic tunings it is designed for allow for easy music creation once you learn the simple tuning process. Becuase it's a string instrument, you can experiment with a wide variety of tunings to give you different sounds or to match other instruments in your own collection, or for playing with others.
The Ngoni features nylon strings which are easier on the fingers than metal, and along with the gourd resonator, give a very soothing warm sound.
We will be featuring completely unique Ngonis we have in stock and ready to ship or pick up directly at our San Diego home shop. Beautiful Sounds will be tuning these up to various tunings to make some general sound samples so you can hear what could be possible with playing your Ngoni over time. Some players just stick with one tuning that they love, and that is perfectly awesome to do too.
Each Electro Acoustic Ngoni model has close up pictures in the product photo area so you can see finer details. The strings are tuned with modern high quality guitar tuners that are easy to turn and hold the note you want in place. Each Ngoni comes with a lightly padded zippered carry case with carry handle and shoulder strap, so it arrives gig ready! We even include a 9 volt battery for the pickup so you can start right away.
Ngonis can take a while to tune (and stay in tune) due to the nylon strings stretching out when you are first tuning and playing. So here at Beautiful Sounds, we are tuning up these beauties ahead a little before we ship so you won't be in the tuning struggle to start, but you'll still need to learn to tune regularly to keep it sounding awesome in the tuning you prefer.
Each Ngoni is a unique instrument, with a different size/shape gourd and different looking goat skin stretched over it. But they all have the same great sound, and can be tuned in many ways.
According to Wikipedia:
"The smaller kamale ngoni or "young man's harp" is claimed to be invented by the musician Alata Brulaye around the 1950s and 1960s in Mali. It became popular in the Wassoulou region and contributed to the rise of Wassoulou music in the 1970s and 1990s.
Musicians traditionally tune this harp using pentatonic scales. There are however exceptions, such as Adama Yalomba, who are exploring new horizons and applying heptatonic scales transforming and influencing the younger generation. The kamale ngoni is smaller than, and tuned a fourth higher than, the traditional pentatonic donso ngoni, which is a predecessor of the kamale ngoni. Both the kamale ngoni and donso ngoni resemble and share their basic design with the Manding kora, but the kora has a wider range (often up to four octaves) with many more strings tuned diatonically, while the kamale ngoni and donso ngoni have ranges of around a [pentatonic] octave (or slightly more, in the case of the kamale ngoni), and are tuned pentatonically. During decades both harps followed similar organology using a resonance body made of calabash rather than wood such as the traditional lute ngoni. This West African harp was initially played using only six strings but later that number was increased to eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen and eighteen strings."