IMG_3472  Kayamba B&W.jpg

It is a kind of a reed rattle from the coastal region of Kenya largely played by Midzichenda, Giriama, Rabai, Kambe, Digo and Duruma communities.


Layers of reeds of different sizes are held together by strips of bamboo or palm across at both edges that the player grips to move the kayamba from side to side. Inside, seeds produce a rattle sound. A strip of wood runs along the middle which the player struck both thumbs on that way enhances the percussive effect. Green grams called choroko are commonly used now, but we also have some made of meto (hard red seeds with black spot) or pojo/podzo.


The native Rabai name of the reed used to make kayamba is mitsuchi. In Midzichenda community, ngonge is the type of fiber used to bind together the instrument.

It can be used to accompany chivoti, nzumari, bubumbum drums, chapuo, sengenya. It is also used for dances such as chimungwe, chiringongo by Rabai, kifudu a dance by the Giriama and the zandere dance by the Duruma people. Other Kenyan ethnic groups use it mostly accompanying church songs.