=> Phoenix - MIM Musical Instrument Museum: Exhibition SANZA African Thumb Pianos

... A Phoenix, en bordure du désert de l'Arizona, il y eut une autre naissance quasi miraculeuse. Quatre ans seulement ont séparé l'idée du projet et l'ouverture de l'extraordinaire « Music Instrument Museum » où grâce à une équipe remarquable mais surtout à la volonté d'un homme, les instruments de musique sont vraiment devenus les représentants de tous les pays et peuples de l'Humanité, illustrant si bien la devise qui en orne l'entrée " Music is the language of the soul ".
L'accueil de notre exposition « Sanza », de la collection Boulanger-Bouhière, BRUNEAF 2011 pour huit mois dans la prestigieuse Target Gallery du MIM, nous remplit d'honneur et de fierté. Il n'y a pas de mots pour leur exprimer notre gratitude.


... ln Phoenix, aan de rand van de Arizona-woestijn, vond een andere quasi miraculeuze geboorte plaats. Amper vier jaar na het ontstaan van het idee van het projekt opende het uitzonderlijke « Music Instrument Museum » . Dankzij een uitzonderlijk team maar vooral dankzij de will van een man, werden de muziekinstrumenten werkelijk de vertegenwoordigers van aIle landen en volkeren van de Mensheid, een daadwerkelijke illustratie van het moto aan de ingang " Music is the language of the soul ".
Wij zijn fier en verheugd dat onze tentoonstelling « Sanza », van de collectie Boulanger-Bouhière, BRUNEAF 2011, voor acht maanden onderdak vond in de prestigieuseTarget Gallery van de MIM. De woorden van dank hiervoor schieten ons te kort.


... ln Phoenix, at the border of the Arizona desert, there was another almost miraculous birth. Only four years separate the idea of the project and the opening of the extraordinary « Music Instrument Museum » . Here, thanks to a remarkable team but especially to the will of a man, musical instruments really became the representatives of all the countries and the peoples of Mankind, illustrating so well the device which ornates the entrance " Music is the language of the soul ".
The sheltering of our exhibition
« Sanza », of the collection Boulanger-­Bouhière, BRUNEAF 2011, for eight months in the prestigious Target Gallery of the MIM, fills us with honor and pride. There are no words to express them our gratitude.

Pierre Loos - Catalogue BRUNEAF 2012

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African Thumb Pianos from the collections of 

François & Françoise Boulanger-Bouhière, the Royal Museum for Central Africa and MIM

MIM Target Gallery

February 25 to October 1, 2012

MIM - Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E. Mayo Boulevard Phoenix, AZ 85050


Les textes ci-après sont extraits de la préface du catalogue qui accompagne l'exposition.

Conceived by founder Robert J. Ulrich as a global institution, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) presents exhibits featuring instrument ensembles from every country and major territory in the world. Audiovisual recordings of these instruments appear throughout the museum. Assembling this extraordinary collection led MIM to collaborate with institutions, musicians, collectors, and scholars on every continent. The success of MIM's mission has been apparent since our opening in April 2010; the museum has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm and has earned awards for its architectural excellence, presentation quality, and guest-friendliness. 

I believe the mark of a great museum is its ability to inspire and motivate guests to request even more information about the objects they have seen. At MIM, we delight in the curiosity of visitors who often note the similarities between instruments from different world regions and ask us for more information about these interconnections. We have built the Target Gallery, our special exhibitions area, to explore these kinds of subjects in greater detail than we can address in our main galleries.

SANZA: African Thumb Pianos from the Collections of F Boulanger-Bouhièrethe Royal Museum for Central Africaand MIM is a superb example of how this museum builds on its strengths and collaborations to present the very best of musical instruments and world music to our audiences. MIM Board of Directors member Marc Leo Félix, who is from Belgium, brought Ulrich's attention to an exhibition of the amazing collection of thumb pianos that had been assembled over the past decades by two dedicated musical instrument collectors. On the spot, Ulrich ,decided that this impressive collection should be exhibited at MIM. MIM's exhibits already included many fine examples of thumb pianos -­ both through its existing collaboration with the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium, and its own collections - so it was an easy decision to incorporate these into the exhibition.

With its enduring commitment to ensure that these musical instruments come to life, MIM also possessed (or acquired) multimedia resources that demonstrated instrument -making techniques and the instruments magnificent sounds.

A gifted scholar of various groups in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other African countries, MIM curator Dr. Manuel Jordán brought his expertise to the project. As his introduction indicates, sanzas have a deep cultural significance and diverse symbolic meaning for many African peoples. Dr. Jordán's understanding, cultural sensitivity, and hard work brought this exhibition and catalog to completion in a short period of time. The work of his wife, Esther Villalobos, is also very much appreciated; her voluntary assistance was an important part of the catalog's completion. The stunning display created by MIM's exhibit team has inspired contemplation, interpretation, and appreciation of this incredible instrument and the music it creates.

I know that everyone will enjoy this catalog of an exhibition that brings together many of the finest examples of this exquisite African instrument. Sanzas are now better known, more appreciated, and more widely played around the world than ever before. I hope everyone will return again and again to discover new and exciting happenings at MIM - ­the most extraordinary museum you'll ever hear.

Billie (Bill) RDeWalt, PhD

MIM President and Director

MIM has many roles as a museum; one is to enlighten its visitors. ln June 2011, during the annual Brussels Non-European Art Fair (BRUNEAF) in BelgiumBRUNEAF president Pierre Loos gave MIM's founder Robert J. Ulrich a private viewing of the stunning original SANZA exhibitionBob immediately saw the potential to amaze and inform MIM's guestsIndeedthis is a unique opportunity to show a vast collection of outstanding examples of a single type of instrumentln order to better appreciate not only the varietybut also the different levels of sanza craftsmanshipcreativityinnovationartistic excellenceand ageit is crucial to see a large number of objects of a similar type.

This monographic exhibition will contrast withand supplementthe regular displays in MIM's Africa Gallery wherein the space allotted to each country, curators show the largest possible variety of instruments found in any given country. I am happy that I was able to bring together all the actors involved so that MIM could featurefor the first time in the United Statesthis interesting and visually exciting exhibitiont which highlights two hundred beautifulsweet-sounding sanzas.

Marc Leo Félix

Founder of the Congo Basin Art History Research Center, MIM Board Member January 15, 2012

SANZA was organized to share specific information based on decades of study by collectors François and Françoise Boulanger-­Bouhière. Their passion and dedication resulted in a remarkable collection, featuring the majority of known sanza types and styles with excellent representative examples of the instrument. The original SANZA exhibition and catalog were received with enthusiasm in Brussels, thanks to the efforts of Thomas Bayet, Sophie Caltaux, Pierre Buch, and Yannik Van Ruysevelt who had key production roles. The collectors' dedication now has new fruitful results at MIM. Sanzas are biloko kitoko"small objects of great beauty" -in the Lingala language of the D.R. Congo, a geographic center for sanza distribution in Africa.

Pierre Loos

BRUNEAF President 



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$18 you can purchase a glossy 64-page catalog with photos of all 200 sanza on display at the MIM's Sanza Exhibit


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Billie (Bill) RDeWalt, PhD - MIM President and Director; Dr. Manuel Jordán - MIM Curator; Pierre Loos - BRUNEAF President 

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 De gauche à droite: Dr. Manuel Jordán - MIM curator; Robert J. Ulrich - MIM FounderMarc Leo Félix - MIM Board Member; 

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$18 you can purchase a glossy 64-page catalog with photos of all 200 sanza on display at the MIM's Sanza Exhibit 



Bravo, belle réussite ! Exposition soignée jusque dans les moindres détails.

Écrit par : luc | 11/04/2012

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J'ai reconnu ce charmant couple spécialiste des sanza.
Meilleurs souvenirs de notre rencontre au Sablon.

Écrit par : dominique | 02/02/2015

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désolé pour l'orthographe : SablonS

Écrit par : dominique | 02/02/2015

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