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date: 19 November 2019


  • John M. Schechter


Rattle of Haiti. It is used during the Rara season, a seven-week period of festivities starting on Ash Wednesday. It consists of three gourd rattles filled with seeds and carried on a wooden cross about 1.5 metres long. One rattle is attached to the top of the long, thin vertical pole, while the other two are placed at the ends of the transverse bar. Another rattle used at the same time is the tchancy, a metal can with a wooden handle; the can is filled with seeds and sometimes perforated with many small holes. Colourful ribbons usually decorate the instrument.

Haitians in Cuba call the cross and gourd rattle yucuyú and add a fourth gourd rattle just below the horizontal crossbar. The length of the vertical pole below the crossbar is striated and used as a scraper. The musician shakes the pole in his left hand to sound the rattles while he scrapes it with a small stick held in his right hand. It is used in Kongo rituals and agrarian rites....

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