The Soul of Mbira

Music and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe

Paul F. Berliner



This sensitive, scholarly portrayal of Shona musicians and their musical tradition is highly engaging and comprehensive in its range of data. Paul Berliner provides the rich cultural context for the music and an intimate, precise account of the meaning of the mbira and its music.


The Soul of Mbira is probably the best ethnography ever written about an African musical tradition. It is a complete classic . . . . I know of no other instrument with the range of the mbira, and the book is equal to the instrument.—John Chernoff


Paul Franklin Berliner is an American ethnomusicologist, best known for specializing in African music as well as jazz and other improvisational systems.