The valiha is a tube zither from Madagascar made from a species of local bamboo. It is played by plucking the strings, which may be made of metal or (originally) the bamboo skin which is pried up in long strands and propped up by small bridges made of pieces of dried gourd. The valiha is considered the national instrument of Madagascar.
The strings of the modern valiha are generally made of bicycle brake cable. The cables are unstrung into individual strands and each string of the instrument is made of only one or two strands of the cable, depending upon the preferences of the player.
One of the most celebrated valiha players of the twentieth century is Rakotozafy (born 1938). The majority of Rakotozafy's few recorded performances were made live at the central studio of Malagasy Radio. Sylvestre Randafison is another celebrated valiha artist considered a cultural icon in Madagascar.
^ Independent article