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Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, 1910; d Cairo, May 3, 1991). Egyptian composer and singer. As a child he had a remarkable musical memory, and at the age of seven he joined a drama troupe to sing during intervals. In 1920 he began studies of traditional Arab music at the Arabic Music Club (now the Institute of Arabic Music), and he also studied Western music for a time at the Bergrün School in Cairo. He then embarked on a dual career as a singer-composer; possessing a fine baritone voice, he achieved great popularity, and he also won fame for his improvisations on the ‘...

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Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, Nov 25, 1924; d Königstein, Nov 23, 1988). Egyptian composer. His father performed classical Arab music with his own ensemble. After learning the piano and developing an interest in Western music, Gamal studied history at Cairo University (BA 1945), at the same time continuing his musical studies with Hans Hickmann and others. A government bursary enabled him to study musicology in Heidelberg with Georgiadis (...

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John Curry

(bNew York, Jan 30, 1927; dNew York, Oct 2, 1993). Double bass and ‘ūd player. His early influences included the music played and sung by his father, who was Sudanese, and the Middle Eastern and East European music he heard growing up in Brooklyn’s multiracial community. He began learning violin at the age of seven and later studied double bass, piano, and tuba and attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York. At this time he played Greek, Syrian, and Gypsy music professionally at weddings and other occasions. After playing double bass with Art Blakey (...

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Abeti  

Gary Stewart

(b Stanleyville [Kisangani], Belgian Congo [Democratic Republic of the Congo], Nov 9, 1951; d Paris, Sept 29, 1994). Congolese singer and songwriter. Abeti first reached prominence in West Africa in the early 1970s under the tutelage of Togolese impresario Gérard Akueson who later became her husband. On the strength of her West African following, Abeti performed at the Paris Olympia concert hall in ...

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Abiba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Small double-headed cylindro-conical drum of the Buda and Mangbetu peoples of the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The head is made of antelope skin and beaten with the hand. It was used in (forbidden) mambela rites. The abiba deni is a drum of the Lengola people of the DRC....

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Abigolo  

Jeremy Montagu

Large xylophone of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It usually has about 12 bars laid across two banana or plantain trunks and is played by three or four people, sometimes girls, sitting on both sides of the instrument.

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Abita  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Single-headed conical drum of the Popoi people of the Uele region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Abombo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Bowl-shaped drum of the Angba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about 50 to 75 cm tall. The single antelope-skin head is laced to the body. It is beaten with one hand and one stick. The abowa mokindja of the Lengola people is similar....

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Val Wilmer

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962...

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Abu  

Large, complex horn of the Luo people of Kenya. It is formed from a round gourd to which is affixed an elongated gourd neck joined at the top to a cow or antelope horn. It is side-blown through a hole near the tip of the animal horn. The sections are joined with beeswax, and the instrument is dampened with water before use to seal any cracks. It is played at funerals and other functions. The player introduces a song, and after the chorus enters he plays the ...

Article

Owen Wright

(b Denia, Spain, 1067; d Mahdia, Tunisia, 1134). Arab scientist and philosopher. His works, mainly on scientific topics, are said to have included a now lost Risāla fī al-mūsīqī (‘Treatise on music’). It is presumably from this that a surviving anonymous Hebrew translation was made which suggests that it originally formed part of the mathematical section (quadrivium) of an encyclopedia. It deals with the standard topics of definitions, intervals, tetrachord species, instruments and rhythm, and is largely derived from ...

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Abume  

Bullroarer of the Tiv people of Nigeria; it is used in the agbande rite for a pregnant woman, with the ivuur scraper and the imborivungu pipe.

See also Imborivungu ; Ivuur .

Article

K.A. Gourlay

Cylindro-conical or barrel-shaped open drum of the Akan people of Ghana. The single head is secured with cords to pegs driven diagonally into the body. The base opening is narrowed by inserting a flat circular board with a hole in the centre. The drum is beaten with two curved sticks, and is played in pairs (‘male’ and ‘female’) in the same manner as atumpan talking drums, the drummer varying the point at which his sticks strike the head in order to change the tone. The drum is used with others by warrior associations in state drumming. Its sounds are said to imitate the cry of the bird of the same name....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

End-blown conical flute of the Mombutu people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made of antelope horn and has two fingerholes. Such flutes, with a curved or straight blowing edge and two or three fingerholes, are common all over this area of the DRC under various names....

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Val Wilmer

(b Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast [now Ghana], June 7, 1931; d London, Sept 15, 1993). Ghanaian conga and bongo player. He was educated at the Royal School in Accra and began playing drums as a child. Following a brief spell in the army he traveled to Britain in ...

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Vera H. Flaig

(b Accra, Ghana, 1931). American master drummer of the Ga ethnic group, West Africa. Born in Accra, Ghana, Yacub is the eldest living member of the revered Addy family of drummers. His father, Jacob Kpani Addy, was a powerful jinni whose medicine name was Okonfo Akoto. Yacub has explained that he and his brothers began drumming out of necessity: “One day when they [his father’s drummers] were very late, my father lost patience with them, and told his senior sons to start the drumming.” While the brothers had never played the drums before, they were familiar with the complex rhythms that accompanied their father’s medicine. When the drummers finally arrived, they were shocked by how well the brothers could play. In ...

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Gregory F. Barz

(b Oshogbo, Nigeria, 1946). Nigerian performer. ‘King’ of Jùjú music and born into a royal Yoruba family, Adé first performed as a guitarist with Moses Olaiya and his Rhythm Dandies. In 1964 he shifted from the Highlife style to jùjú, and in 1966...

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Adewu  

Hunter’s drum of the Ewe people of Ghana.

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Adigidi  

Version of the endingidi (single-string spike fiddle), made by the Teso people of Uganda. The large calabash resonator provides a deep tone. A half-groundnut serves as a bridge. The fiddle is used to accompany songs.

See also Endingidi .

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Flute of the Fon people of Benin and Togo.