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Val Wilmer

(b Cape Town, Oct 18, 1950). South African pianist, composer, and arranger. He grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town with the guitarist Russell Herman, studied music at the University of Cape Town, and played in various groups with Herman, including Oswietie, with which they toured South Africa and Angola. After joining Sipho Gumede in the funk-jazz group Spirits Rejoice he traveled along Africa’s west coast as far as Gabon, then in ...

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Wolfgang Bender

A style of African popular music. The term was coined in 1967 by Fela Kuti, who was known as ‘the king of Afrobeat’. Fela played Highlife music while studying music at Trinity College of Music, London (1958–63). Upon his return to Nigeria he referred to the style as ‘highlife jazz’. Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone visited Lagos around ...

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Paula Morgan

(b Hohoe, Sept 28, 1956). American musicologist and music theorist, of Ghanaian birth. He studied at Reading University (1974–7) and with Arnold Whittall at King’s College, London (1977–8), where he took the MMus in analysis. He took the doctorate under Leonard Ratner at Stanford University (...

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Agbe  

Jeremy Montagu

Vessel rattle of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is named for the calabash agbo from which it is made.

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J. Gansemans, K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Rubi-Haut-Uele area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a box-shaped bark resonator and six to eight wooden tongues fastened to the soundboard by raffia fibre. According to de Hen a lamellaphone of this type, with wooden or metal tongues, is known by the Badjande people as ...

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K.A. Gourlay and Amanda Villepastour

Lamellaphone of the Ọ̀yọ́ Yorùbá in Nigeria. It has diffused to the Nago peoples of Benin and Lucumí people in Cuba, where it is known as the marímbula. Five adjustable metal tongues are mounted on a large wooden box resonator, which can be 45 cm by 60 cm and 22 cm deep or larger. The instrument is played on the lap, suspended from the neck at waist level so that the tongues can be plucked with the fingers of either hand, or resting on the floor with the player seated. The ...

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Agolora  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

End-blown gourd trumpet of the Logo people of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. About 90 cm long, it consists of three hollow calabashes joined in a line and adhered together with clay. The Logo call the instrument also by other vernacular names such as ...

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Aguma  

Single-headed drum of the Igbo people of Nigeria.

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Agwara  

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 ...

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Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, Jan 6, 1896; d Cairo, Feb 16, 1961). Egyptian composer. He studied the vocal repertory (mūwashshaḥ and adwār) with Darwish Al-Hariry, learnt to recite the Qur'an with Ismail Succar and also studied the ‘ūd. He started his career as a member of the chorus of the singer Aly Mahmud, and shortly afterwards started to compose religious chants, scoring his first success with some ...

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Large box-resonated lamellaphone of Ghana; it has three to five metal tongues.

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Àjà  

Amanda Villepastour

A generic term for metal clapper bells of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The bells, which can be of iron or brass and of variable sizes, have an integral handle. Their most common use is in òrìṣà cults where the àjà punctuates prayers and incantations arhythmically and is believed to invoke the deities...

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Amanda Villepastour

The largest gourd rattle in the Sẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ family of instruments of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The gourd resonator is encased in a net to which cowrie-shell and sometimes glass bead strikers are attached. The rattle was once associated with the worship of Ajé, the Yorùbá ...

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Ajigo  

K.A. Gourlay

Kettledrum of the Idoma people of Nigeria. It is approximately 60 cm tall and 35 cm in diameter, and has a head affixed by wedge bracing (i.e. tension is obtained by inserting wooden wedges between the securing ring and the body). The ajigo is played with the hands. Believed to be sacred, it is used solely by members of the ...

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Peter Cooke

Large pentatonic log xylophone formerly played in the royal compound of the kabaka (King) of Buganda, central Uganda. Like other xylophones in Uganda the bars were preferably carved from logs of the lusambya tree (markhamia platycalyx). Their number varies between 17 and 22 and they are laid across freshly felled banana trunks and held in place by tall sticks pushed into the trunks between the bars. The bars are sounded at both ends with heavy beaters but are held longitudinally in place by a pair of shoulders carved out of the underside of each bar which trap the bars between the trunks yet allow free vibration....

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Idiochord single-string stick zither made by Ganda children in Uganda. It consists of a piece of papyrus stem about 55 cm long with a thin strip raised and supported on bits of papyrus that serve as bridges. It is plucked either with a finger of the right hand or with a small stick....

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Akaene  

Gourd vessel rattle of the Teso people of Uganda. It is filled with pebbles or dried peas, and used to accompany songs for healing or rain-making.

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Peter Cooke

Flat box-shaped rattle of the Nkore people of western Uganda. The top and bottom of the box are made from two rafts of reeds laced together with thin sticks between them at the edges to hold them apart, leaving room between for dry seeds that rattle when the box is swung rhythmically from side to side and simultaneously tapped on the top by the player’s thumbs. The sides are covered with strips of banana fibre or cloth, stitched to prevent the seeds from escaping. Vernacular names among neighbouring peoples are ...

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Akama  

Single-headed drum of the Igbo people of Nigeria.

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Akanono  

Single-headed conical drum of the Lala people of Zambia. It is beaten by hand, by a male performer, and usually played in conjunction with the cimbulunge and fwanda-fwanda drums.

See also Cimbulunge ; Fwanda-fwanda .