Re-Sounding the xylophone collection of RMCA

ReSoXy focuses on the music practice and intangible cultural heritage of the forgotten and declining musical instrument collections of the Africa Museum, Tervuren. In particular, the project is studying the xylophone collection which contains 159 instruments, and among them, 29 fixed-key manza xylophones that were owned and performed by the patrimonial chiefs and notables. Collected by ethnographers, colonial administrators and expeditors, the RMCA has acquired over 9000 musical objects and 37000 musical recordings in Central and sub-Saharan Africa since the beginning of colonization—the end of 19th Century. 

Situated at the cross-point of societal, cultural and academic domains, ReSoXy investigates the intangible cultural heritage of the museum xylophone collection—musical sound, performance practice and technique—that were neglected and misinterpreted in the past scientific endeavors of collection preservation and management. This project website is a platform for facilitating the decentralized approaches of co-creation and participatory creative actions. Not only the open-access of the music recordings, photographs and written data, the website contains an interactive virtual keyboard for visitors to play on the instruments, as well as audio samples for musicians and artistic creators to download for their own creative purposes. Through this website, we would like to resound and recreate the instrument collection for everyone. We will reflect together on the contemporary meanings and roles of the cultures and instruments that were erased and fragmented by colonization through co-creation activities, leading us to the development of new ideas on restitution and decolonization of ethnographical museum collections. 


Aiko Devriendt, Edward De Keyser, Ludovic Nyamabo, Bernadette Choy Hei Man, ICT-RMCA, 

Michiel De Malsche, students of music conservatories 


Adilia On Ying Yip, Rémy Jadinon