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The yomkwo is a raft zither from the Birom people of Nigeria. It is made from a number of reeds bound together to form a raft. The strings are the peels of the reeds that are loosened in the middle and bound on both ends so they do not come off. Two sticks are placed between the strings and the reeds to create tension on the strings. The strings are bound in the middle to create various pitches, with the lowest pitches having the greatest amount of binding. Often a small rattle is attached to the back of the instrument. The yomkwo is more of a percussion instrument than a zither, performing rhythmic patterns to accompany singing and dance.

Country: Nigeria
Region: Africa
Type: zither / percussion
Yomkwo - African Raft zither
©  R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002