How the lesiba is made

How the lesiba is made

You need a metre-long stick, a string made of horsetail or cow tail hair (bolitse) and a quill that may be taken from a variety of birds including raven, hawk, rook, pied crow or the bald ibis.
Wells’ book narrates that the quill is split, so as to remain flat, and a small hole burnt in the v-shaped end using a heated pin.

It is through this hole that the string is passed from above and a knot is tied underneath the quill.
The other end of the quill is secured to the stick by a split peg.
A hole is bored or burnt using a heated pin into the stick and a peg chosen that will fit easily.

The peg is split down the middle, the free end of the quill wedged between both sides of the split peg, and all three pieces forced into the bored hole.
The peg underneath the quill is raised up to enable the quill to lie about 0.5 centimetres above the stick when tensioned.

The string is tied to the other end of the stick, with the surplus string bound around underneath in a way that prevents the vibrating portion from touching the stick at any point in between.
Two strands of bolitse are twined together by being rolled upon the player’s leg using saliva as a gluing agent.
Another two strands are rolled together, then both lengths of two-strand string are rolled together to produce a string of four strands.

The string must be kept tight in order for the instrument to sound, and its tension may be adjusted by moving the binding at the far end closer to, or further from, the quill.
The melodious sounds of lesiba are made when the player, holding the instrument close to his lips like he is playing flute, exhales and inhales.

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