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date: 21 August 2019


  • Peter Cooke


Sets of side-blown trumpets formerly of the Alur people of northwestern Uganda. Ranging in length from 50 to 200 cm, they are made by splitting a wooden branch lengthwise and carving each half into a gently conical wooden trough. The halves are then glued together and sewn into a cowskin cover. Used in hocketing sets of up to eight different-size trumpets for dancing and other festivities, they were formerly played only by men but in 2006 members of an Alur women’s club adopted them. In Kampala, male university students blow them while processing around their campuses during electioneering rallies and other festivities. Similar trumpets used by other peoples of northern Uganda include the Acholi tuum, the Madi turi or ture turungule, the generally shorter gwara me akuta of Lango, and the arupepe of the Teso and Karimojong peoples in the northeast.

The Para-nilotic word-stem gwara applied to side-blown trumpets occurs also in the terminology of Bantu peoples, hinting at the historic influence of Nilotic migrants on their culture, hence the ...

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