One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various musical instruments originating in sub-Saharan Africa, consisting of a board, box, or bowl held in the hands, with a series of metal or bamboo tongues attached to it, which are plucked by the thumbs and forefingers.
1940s; earliest use found in Tom Marvel (b. 1901). From Lingala likembé from li-, singular class prefix + -kembé, the name of the instrument.
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