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Nghomba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Single-headed drum of the Tumbwe people in the Shaba region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The head is nailed to the 30-cm-long body, which is decorated with geometrical incisions and zoomorphic, painted incisions. A similar istrument is the mufukula of the Tabwa in the same region. When the ...

Article

Ngombo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Cylindrical wooden slit drum of the Chokwe people in the Kasayi-Shaba region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Pende call it mukoko dia ngombo and the Kongo call it mikoko mi ngombe. It has an extension carved as a human head, representing a divine spirit. The haircut and sometimes tattoos on the face designate a male or a female spirit. The ...

Article

Ngwomi  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Pluriarc of the Teke (Tegue) peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon, and the Hum, Mfinu, and Yans of the DRC. Ngwim is the Hum term, ngwen the Yans. The Teke term ngwomi denotes a large five-string instrument whose string-bearer (composed of five bows neatly tied together) and strings are almost perpendicular to its rectangular soundbox. The soundbox is traditionally made from a hollowed block of wood but nowadays is sometimes made of boards tied together with rattan; the soundboard, however, is triangular, covering the soundbox and projecting like a bird’s tail. Metal jingles on the bows produce a buzzing effect. The name ...

Article

Nkanika  

Cast, flanged, and shouldered clapper bell of the Ibibio and Efik peoples of Nigeria. Among the Ibibio it is tied, together with a tiny nyoro bell, to the waists of ceremonial masked dancers to sound their approach.

Article

Nkoni  

Lucy Durán and Aurelia W. Hartenberger

Plucked half-spike lute of the Manding people of West Africa. Ibn Battūta, who visited the Mali Empire in 1353, described the nkoni, and Mungo Park wrote about it in the late 18th century. These wooden lutes with a trough-like resonator and fan-shaped bridge were probably the oldest melody instruments used by ...

Article

Nsaasi  

Peter Cooke

Ganda name for the vessel rattle ubiquitous in Uganda. It is made from a gourd (calabash), the narrow neck of which serves as a handle, the spherical part as a container for seeds or stones. They are usually used in pairs (pl. ensaasi) in many dance music ensembles and play an important part in spirit rituals. In northern Uganda they are often given incised or burned decoration. In Nkore a common term for this is ...

Article

Nswezi  

Peter Hoesing

Term referring to drums associated with nswezi rituals among the Soga people of southeastern Uganda. These rituals feature a type of spirit possession called kusamira or kubandwa in which participants use music to facilitate and maintain connections with ancestral spirits. So central is this activity to possession ritual that the Lusoga verb for performing such a function is ...

Article

Obaka  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Percussion beam of the Punu people of Gabon. Made of hardwood, it is about 1.2 metres long. It rests on the ground and is struck with rods by several men as rhythmic accompaniment to the nsambi (pluriarc) and male singing.

See also Nsambi (ii) .

Article

Ogene  

Clapperless forged iron bell of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is about 30 cm long and is beaten with a hardwood stick, which may have soft padding at the end. Bells are single, double (ogene mkpi nabo), or triple (ogene mkpi ito...

Article

Okoco  

Peter Cooke

Tortoise-shell dance rattle of the Acholi people of Uganda. The shell is suspended from the player’s upper arm. A row of short iron chains attached to the lower part of the shell strikes against each other and against the shell, which serves as a resonator....

Article

Olubeye  

Peter Cooke

Stick rattle of Uganda. Among the Banyole people it is a stick approximately 100 cm long on which are threaded 20 or more dry oncoba fruit shells, each speared through the middle and each with slits cut into the shell to improve the sound. In Bunyoro, Toro, and Nkore, several short sticks, each with three or four fruit shells, are held parallel by thongs attached at each end; these rattles, called ...

Article

Peter Cooke

Single-headed drum of the Soga people of Uganda. It is open-ended and the head, usually of lizard skin (occasionally of a small mammal such as duiker), is affixed with glue or, less often, nails made of thorns or hard wood. It is played by the hands, usually in ensemble with other drums. In shape it resembles the Ganda ...

Article

Ondende  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Set of two whistles of the Makere people in the Uele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The end-blown, cylindrical (sometimes cylindro-conical) wooden whistles are up to 11 cm long. Other Makere names for sets of two or more whistles are abimbo, bwanze, eli, mapengo...

Article

Oriwa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

End-blown gourd horn of the Logo people in the Uele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is played in groups of eight. Alternate names for oriwa are kangamva, akoti, aoalo, aori, asidri, ira, kanga, soma, and agolova.

J.S. Laurenty: Systématique des aérophones de l’Afrique centrale...

Article

Outa  

David K. Rycroft

Braced mouth bow of the Herero and Damara (Nama) peoples of southwestern Africa. It is often adapted from a hunting bow (which bears the same name). The stave is held against the player’s slightly parted lips while the string is struck with a thin stick. Mouth-resonated harmonics are used melodically. Among the Damara it is also known as ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Ground bow of the Pygmies who live with the Andekelao people in the Watsa-Gombari region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. One end of the bow is stuck in the ground. A string is fastened to the upper end of the bow and attached at the other end to a small stick under a piece of bark that covers a resonating pit dug in the ground. The string is plucked with the fingers. The instrument is not played by the Andekalao themselves, and surrounding peoples do not know of it....

Article

Piki  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Whistle of the Mbuti people and of the Pygmies living with the Balese people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conical wooden body is about 17 cm long. Reportedly, the piki piki of the Balese is always decorated with metallic binding.

J.S. Laurenty...

Article

Ribab  

Single-string spike fiddle of the Tamazight (Berber) people of North Africa. The resonator is a shallow circular frame covered by a goatskin head and back. The horsehair string extends at an angle to the neck (not along it) from the end of a long lateral tuning peg, through a thong looped to the neck that acts as a nut, over an inverted V-shaped wooden bridge placed toward the upper side of the head, to a string holder that is looped around the short spike. The neck, of square section, is often ornately inlaid and terminates with a knob. The string is not stopped against the neck but is pressed by the left-hand fingers to produce mainly pentatonic melody within the compass of an octave. The horsehaired bow is a simple arch, the stick wrapped with cloth and the hair tension adjusted by the bow-hand fingers. The ...

Article

Sambani  

Clappers of the Hausa people of northern Nigeria. They are metal double clappers of dumb-bell shape (two shallow, connected cups) with small iron rings in holes around the rims of the cups, which can be oval, round, or pear-shaped. One pair is held in each hand, the fingers supporting the upper clapper, the thumb the lower. Women use them without other instruments to accompany religious songs during Islamic festivals and at wedding and name ceremonies....

Article

Tama  

K.A. Gourlay, Lucy Durán and Rainer Polak

Variable-tension hourglass drum of the Wolof and Mande-speaking peoples (Khasonka, Soninke, Maninka, Bamana, Dyula) and their neighbours in Senegal, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast. The tama is struck with one curved drumstick with a flattened end, and by one hand. The two heads are lapped onto rings at the ends of the wooden body and joined by numerous cords so that, when the drum is placed under the player’s arm, pressure on the cords can vary the pitch. Most modern instruments are relatively small (25 to 30 cm tall, 10 to 15 cm in diameter); in Mande languages, these are known as ...