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Krar player
Close-up of a man playing the Krar

The krar is a five- or six-stringed bowl-shaped lyre from Eritrea and Ethiopia . The instrument is tuned to a pentatonic scale. A modern krar may be amplified, much in the same way as an electric guitar or violin.

The krar, a chordophone, is usually decorated with wood, cloth, and beads. Its five or six strings determine the available pitches. The instrument's tone depends on the musician's playing technique: bowing, strumming or plucking. If plucked, the instrument will produce a soft tone. Strumming, on the other hand, will yield a harmonious pulsation. The krar is often played by musician-singers called azmari and accompanies love songs and secular songs, which makes it an enjoyable accompaniment to a cozy meal.



  • Asnakech Worku, Ethiopiques 16: The Lady with the Krar (compact disc). Buda Musique 822652, 2003.
  • Ethiopie, chants d'amour (Ethiopia, Love Songs). Fantahun Shewankochew, vocals and krar (compact disc). INEDIT/Maison des Cultures du Monde W260080, 1998.



  • HELP! – Musikalische Geschichten aus Äthiopien. Directed by Daniel Schulz.[1]

See also

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