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The ingaraba is a drum, almost cylindrical in shape, but tapering slightly towards the bottom. Its overall length varies from 90 to 100 cm with a diameter of 20 cm. A snake skin, antelope skin or cowhide is stretched and nailed across the upper opening of the drum shell (resonator). The wood of the instrument is kept smooth and flawless and is seldom decorated in any way.

At the top and bottom of the drum shell there are two protrusions through which a leather band is pulled, which serves as a carrying strap. The instrument is carried horizontally over the left shoulder and held against the body with the left arm. It is always struck with both hands, chiefly with the tips of the fingers. Besides the various rhythmic patterns that can be played, the performer can also alter the sound by striking the drum skin in the middle or on one side.

According to some researchers, the ingaraba strongly resembles the igwabe, which is played by the Nyambo of Tanzania. Together with the amakondera, it is said to have been brought to Rwanda by the Abazinza. Originally exclusively played by the king or important chiefs, the ingaraba is now an integral part of the amakondera ensemble.

For more information consult the following publications edited by the RMCA: