During our time in eSwatini, we were blessed to work with a handful of praised musicians including the legend himself, Smiles Makama. Smiles is known internationally for playing a multitude of instruments, but mainly for his invention; the “Smilophone,” a variation of the traditional makoyane. Standing at close to two meters tall, the Smilophone is made primarily of bamboo, acacia wood, and old car tire wires. We had the pleasure to not only record this one-of-a-kind instrument, but also to sit down with Smiles and learn more about his creation.
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