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Bàtá kotolocked

  • John M. Schechter
  •  and Amanda Villepastour

Drum of the Ẹ̀cgbá Yorùbá people of Nigeria. It is constructed from two large gourds strung together (koto is a Yorùbá word for ‘deep gourd’). One end is then cut open and covered with a skin head. The bàtá koto ensemble consists of the ìyáàlù (mother, lead drum), two omele (accompanying drums), and a sẹ̀ckẹ̀crẹ̀c (gourd rattle). There is also a Cuban batá kotó of the Lucumí people, which is a long, single-headed cylindrical drum with a nailed head. It resembles the Cuban arará drum, which has Fon (Benin) antecedents and was formerly used in Cuba as a war drum. In spite of its name, the bàtá koto is unrelated to the batá/bàtá drum family of the Lucumí and Yorùbá people; these are double-headed, hourglass or conically shaped, closed drums laced with rope (in Matanzas) or hide (in Nigeria and Havana). The Cuban batá-kotó is played with curved sticks (garabatos) over a pit (its Spanish name means ‘drum over a pit’).

See also Batá kotó .


  • F. Ortíz: Los instrumentos de la música afrocubana, vol.2 (Havana, 1952–5)
  • D.L. Thieme: A Descriptive Catalogue of Yoruba Musical Instruments (diss., Catholic U. of America, Washington, DC, 1969)