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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 ...

Article

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.

Wachsmann reported that in 1950 only three instruments existed, one at the palace, one in the Uganda museum, and a third at Kidinda village, Butambala county, where the instrument was made and practised by members of the elephant clan formerly charged with the duty of providing musicians. Though he also remarked that ‘in old times’ the instrument had 22 bars (spanning four octaves) the instrument at the palace then had 17 bars, and a 17-bar instrument was in use at the palace until ...

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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  

Article

Peter Cooke

[ruganira]

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  

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Akanono  

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Akayau  

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Jeremy Montagu

[akacau, caccakai, koroso]

Iron ankle rattle of the Hausa people of Nigeria. The Angas equivalent is the zye-zye. A piece of sheet iron is hammered to form a trough about 12 cm long, with the ends narrowed and folded back to form closed hooks into which iron rings are fitted. A string passed through two holes punched through the back of the trough enables two or three rattles to be strung together and worn on the ankles for dancing....

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Akbele  

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Long drum of the Alur people of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The single lizard-skin head is glued to the narrow wooden body and is beaten by hand. It is used in witchcraft ceremonies.

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Akidi  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[akimbi]

Board zither of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a single string that passes five times back and forth along a board from notches carved in both ends, with a small stick at each end serving as a nut, and small movable wooden blocks under each length of string to tune them. The name ...

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Akiri  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Handheld bell of the Bandia of the Buta district, northern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made from the hard shell of borassus palm fruit. One end is sawn off and two short lengths of stick are hung inside as clappers. The bell is similar in shape and size to cowbells used elsewhere in the world. It is used in traditional dance music, together with ...

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Akofe  

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[kpendimbe, kpendingbwa, kponingbo, padingbwa, pendibe]

Xylophone of the Bandia people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has six to ten loose bars placed across two parallel tree (usually banana) trunks laid on the ground. Sometimes it is placed over a pit to increase the sonority. It is played only by men.

F.J. de Hen...

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Akpossi  

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Akya  

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Alamoru  

Peter Cooke

End-blown flute of the Teso and Karamoja areas of Uganda, also reported in Kenya. It has two or four fingerholes and is blown obliquely. It is a pastoral instrument, presumably made of cane or bamboo, and in Teso there are two types: a short flute (50 cm) with fingerholes near the bottom end, which is cut at an angle, and a long one (117 cm) with four fingerholes near the middle and a small gourd bell about 5 cm in diameter....

Article

Alele