A traditional Valiha of Madagascar looks like a wooden box with a chain and strings. Although music featuring the 22-string valiha (tube zither) is performed today in Madagascar discos along with electric guitars and drums, the traditional instrument is also heard in social and religious events. The valiha is the instrument heard at circumcision
Owww parties, religious exhumations, and trance and possession ceremonies. Today it is the national instrument of Madagascar is often made from a wooden oblong box and bicycle-brake cable. (Roger 1986) The valiha is a very fragile instrument.
Another source states that there are 16-strings. The instrument has 16 strings made out of thin wire and is a type of zither. The strings are raised from the bamboo body by tiny pieces of wood wedges. You hold the tube upright or under your arm, and then pluck the strings with your fingertips. The instrument was brought to Madagascar from Indonesia. It was originally played by the local inhabitants to invoke the spirits of their ancient ancestors. It is now mainly a secular instrument. (Acslink)
The valiha is a bamboo zither with historical roots right back to Indonesia. A recent revival of traditions ‘to get away from today’s teen violence and porn’, teenagers are being taught how to play this instrument and are getting good at it. They are targeting Malagasy youth. Not only does this teach them a useful skill and give an enjoyable leisure activity, it also revives a pride in Malagasy culture to help combat the many unsuitable imported influences. They are promoting the Tarika, a famous Madagascar group who is touring the world. The program to teach teenagers the valiha has reached new villages of Morarano, Mandriseza, Androndra and Ambatoroka. Andrianiaina Rasandimanana is the local organizer. (Frootsmag)
A sample of this valiha music can be found on the cd Shanachie. Which can be bought at Amazon.
Roger Armstrong/ACE Records “Feam Baliha” from Madagasikara 1: Current Traditional Music of Madagascar. 1986 Globestyle/ACE Records.
Valiha Full Record.