Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pterocarpus Erinaceus

Pterocarpus erinaceus: wood used to make musical instruments in West and Central Africa. Used for, among other things, djembe and mbira. The native Shona word for this tree is mukambira.

I had noticed that the wood on many mbiras I saw was similar to many of the djembes I have seen- but did not resemble any hardwoods I am acquainted with. Turns out most are made from this tree.

It also turns out P. Erinaceus is part of the legume family, as are the rosewoods that are so desirable to luthiery as tonewoods. Also in the legume family are acacias (incl. Koa), locusts, bubinga, wenge, and purpleheart, among others.

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