Hosho (instrument)

For other uses, see Hosho.
A pair of hosho.

The hosho are Zimbabwean musical instruments consisting of a pair of maranka (mapudzi) gourds with seeds. They typically contain hota (Canna indica) seeds inside them.[1] The hosho are used to accompany Shona music, especially mbira music. They make a rattling sound that western ears may be unaccustomed to hearing. However, this accompaniment is essential when playing mbira and/or marimba music. So essential, in fact, that extra vibrating elements such as mirlitons (buzzing membranes made from spider webs) are attached to the resonating tubes of marimbas and machachara (miniature Hosho made from seashells or bottle caps) are attached to the mbira and its deze.[2] Mbiras and marimbas from Africa; and even other instruments, such as drums, will have some kind of rattles associated with their use.

From a western perspective the hosho are seen as accompanying instruments to mbira, when in actuality they are seen as the lead instruments by the mbira players. See a typical use of the hosho by selecting the link at the end of this paragraph, as played together with the mbira at Zimfest 2008, by Musekiwa Chingodza.

A smaller version of the hosho is made of a wild orange called a damba, tied together with sticks and filled with hota seeds or pebbles.

Other related percussion instruments from Zimbabwe include the magavhu (leg rattle) and ngoma (drum).


  1. Novitski, Paul (2000). "Hosho". Dandemutande Magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  2. Williams, Michael (1997). "Machachara" (PDF). Percussive Notes Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-18.

See also

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