|The Glossary Of World Percussion Instruments
By Neel Kant Agrawal August 15, 2012 9:49 am
Percussion is integral to African dance and spiritual music. A phenomenon of African percussion is the multiple layers of interlocking rhythmic patterns that simultaneously occur in different meters. These polyrhythms are abundant in the West African music of the Yoruba, Ewe, and Ibo people.
Most of the instruments in this section are from West Africa. But East Africa, for example, is home to the ngoma drums of Kenya, the large royal kalinga drums of Rwanda, and the Amadinda xylophones of Uganda. Southern Africa has the karimba and mbira (thumb pianos) and the Zimbabwean Shona marimba. It is also important to note that African percussion has profoundly affected popular drumming styles in America, such as jazz and New Orleans second-line music.
Axatse (left): a hollowed-out gourd covered with a woven mesh-and-bead netting traditionally made from shells. It is a hand-held timekeeping instrument in the Ewe drumming ensembles of West Africa.
Balaphone: a tonal instrument originating from Guinea containing 17 to 21 rectangular wooden slats arranged from low to high notes constructed from béné wood. Calabashes (gourds) are attached to the wooden frame below the slats to enhance its resonance and projection and are played with mallets.
Bougarabou (left): a cone-shaped West African drum from the Jola people of Senegal and The Gambia. Also known as the the “African conga,” it is traditionally played by a single percussionist with sticks or a combination of one stick and one hand.
Brekete: a cylindrical drum with goatskin used in north Ghana among the Dagomba people. It is usually played with a curved stick and one hand.