The mbira is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board (often fitted with a resonator) with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs. The mbira is usually classified as part of the lamellaphone family, and part of the idiophone family of musical instruments.
Members of this broad family of instruments are known by a wide variety of names. In the Anglo world it is often called a thumb piano. Indigenous African names include likembe, mbila, mbira huru, mbira njari, mbira nyunga nyunga, nhare, matepe and njari, sansu, zanzu, karimbao, marimba, karimba, kalimba, okeme, ubo, orâ€”between the late 1960s and early 1970sâ€”sanza, as well as marÃmbula (also kalimba) in the Caribbean Islands.