The Mangbetu are a people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, living in the Orientale Province. The language is Mangbetu, called Nemangbetu in their language and Kingbetu in the national language of Lingala. Mangbetu is a member of the Nilo-Saharan language group. The Mangbetu language is phonetically distinct from other languages in that it possesses both a voiced and a voiceless bilabial trill. The Labo language of Vanuatu, also known as Mewun, is the only other language known to possess this phonetic feature. The Mangbetu are known for their highly developed art and music. One instrument associated with and named after them is the Mangbetu harp or guitar. See and. for images. One harp has sold for over $100,000. Musicologists have also sought out the Mangbetu to make video and audio recordings of their music. The Mangbetu stood out to European explorers because of their elongated heads.
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