The instrument pictured here is called an mbira. My college girlfriend bought it for me in Zimbabwe. Three years later I married that girl, and we wrapped that mbira in newspaper with the rest of my small, odd instruments and moved to Nashville.
It’s fun to look at, so Amy has displayed the mbira on a shelf in every home we’ve shared in 18 years of marriage. Amazingly, I didn’t think to bring it into the studio for Sing the Bible Volume 1, even though the style was heavily influenced by the music of Central and Southern Africa.
Today, in a moment of inspiration, I made the 2 minute drive to my house from Ben’s studio (The Beehive), to pick it up along with some shakers from India and a Mel Bay ocarina, and we recorded my mbira for the first time! It will be the first sound you hear on our Romans 8:28 song.
After tidying up that song we moved to “Hear O Israel” – referencing Taylor Swift’s “Mean” and Fun’s “Some Nights” for sounds and production ideas. Oh – also Ben introduced me to Andy Grammar’s “Honey I’m Good.” Evidently that song is huge but I had never heard it because I listen to the radio about once a year. Killer song, though.
I played some acoustic, sang some scratch vocals, and Ben found some “stomp” samples he really liked. We use samples to “rough in” sounds that we’ll probably replace later with real musicians, but they help as placeholders, and sometimes they work well in tandem with the real thing.
That’s all for now – already looking forward to Monday!