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Ethnic group: Touareg
Canadian Museum of Civilization

Audio Excerpt

Music from the Griots in Niger, LP

  Inzad - CMC no. 2000.135.1.2 / Photo: Carmelle Bégin


The inzad has one string and is played with a bow. Several variants of this instrument can be found in West Africa, especially in Islamized countries. It is made from half a calabash, which serves as a resonator, to which the skin of a goat is nailed. A circular opening is cut in the skin. The string, made of horsehair, is attached to the neck and held in place by two strips of leather. The inzad is played by women and has both a therapeutic and a recreational purpose. Its therapeutic function is to drive certain spirits out of the body of people who are ill or to treat certain illnesses. Recreationally, it accompanies the poems sung by men, which praise the bravery and heroic deeds of warriors. In the past, when the Tuareg were waging war against neighbouring groups, caravans and colonial troops, the inzad was played to encourage the warriors and glorify their bravery. If a warrior was valiant and courageous, it was said that he deserved the inzad.