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date: 25 May 2020

Bi [bin]locked

  • K.A. Gourlay



Root term in the Benue-Congo language group for double-headed cylindrical drums found in the Jos Plateau and adjoining areas of Nigeria. The term bi is used by the Jaba people, bin by the Katav, Kagoro, Morwa, and Pyem, biyin by the Kaje, bing by the Birom, and ibin and ingonbin by the Jarawa people. In the Ada-mawa language group to the east the ‘b’ becomes ‘v’; hence the Waka vi, Kumba and Teme vim, Yendang vin, and Kugama and Gengle avim. All drums are of the ganga type, with cord and lace bracing, though not all have snares. The most common use is in pairs of larger and smaller drums, for example the Kagoro badang bin (‘large drum’) and shishio bin (‘small drum’), which are played as a rhythmic accompaniment to horn or flute ensembles for singing and dancing. An exception is the bi of the Irigwe of the Jos Plateau, a tall, open, single-headed drum, played standing with hands or sticks, and used as the solo instrument for paeans of praise for traditional warriors and slayers of wild animals....

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