The other day at a church-planting conference in Mayuge (Mi-yu-gee), I ran across an instrument that I’ve never seen before in Uganda. It is called a dungu. It’s a stringed instrument made from cowhide and wood, and it can be tuned like a guitar. The strings on the smaller instruments were made from fishline, and the strings for the very large one were made from tightly wound fishnet string.

When I saw these instruments, I thought immediately of David’s lyre in the Bible and about his excellent musical ability. His skill was so great that he could soothe King Saul’s demonic rages with his music. And he must have used a very similar instrument to these dungus.

I didn’t get to hear anyone play the smaller ones, but they used the huge one during their worship. It sounded like an ancient base fiddle. One boy sat at the strings and plunked them while another sat at the opposite end and beat on the hollow base with a stick as if on a drum. The effect was quite nice. Here are some pictures for you to appreciate. Perhaps you will have the same back-in-time-on-the-time-machine flashes that I did.

Here are three dungu's of varying size from tiny to medium.

Here are three dungus of varying size from tiny to medium.

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Tuners

 

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Here is the large dungu. A real work of art, sounds like a base fiddle.

Here is the large dungu. A real work of art, sounds like a base fiddle.

 

 

 

 

Tuners

 

 

 

One boy plays the dungu strings while the other thumps the back end with a stick for a deep drum beat.

One boy plays the dungu strings while the other thumps the back end with a stick for a deep drum beat.