This instrument has a very long history: a version with bamboo keys appeared in West Africa around 3000 years ago and the metal-keyed invention originated in the Zambezi Valley approximately 1300 years ago spreading all over Africa. It has myriad forms, tunings and names according to region, such as mbira, marimba and kalimba, as it is still called in the Caribbean. In Tanzania it is called sanza or rimba.
Saidi makes all his own instruments. You may have seen the photographs of his tin-can guitar using a broken guitar neck and half-gallon oil can. My instrument making skills stop at my cajon used on several recordings such as Tsunami.However, a big thank you is due for this beautifully hand-crafted five-string fretless bass guitar, custom made by Jon Letts in the UK, which was played throughout the recordings.