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Jozi’s Behr develops digital East African instruments for Ableton

We’ve spoken before about how important geographical representation is on the internet, both for the people being represented and those who could be inspired by them, and it seems like production software giants Ableton agree.

Right now you can grab a free download of a set of Ableton Live Racks (basically digital instruments) that are modelled on various Eastern African instruments. The pack includes two plucked string instruments, the (Zeze and the Adungu) as well as flute (modelled after the Endere) and a set of lively sounding drum percussion hits.

The instruments were developed through a collaboration between South African DJ/Producer Behr and the Santuri East Africa collective. This actually isn’t Behr’s first foray into instrument sound design as the Red Bull Music Academy alumni has previously released a mbira rack for Ableton. In developing the East African instruments a long cast of artists from the region were also involved, adding to the authenticity of the project’s aims.

In the words of Behr himself:

“I wanted to approach this project with the utmost respect to the culture and history behind the instruments and musicians but with the ability to push the sonic boundaries with the use of Ableton Live. I sat down with all the artists and asked them about the history of all the instruments – everyone was very happy this vision of cross-pollinating the traditional with music technology”

Download the pack and read more about its origin and the instruments it’s modelled after at the Ableton Website.

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