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Assogi  

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Asuba  

F.J. de Hen

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Atabule  

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Atang  

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Atenesu  

K.A. Gourlay

[atenus]

Drum of the Teso people of Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda it was traditionally played only by women (with the flat of the hand), while men played the ideteta, a smaller stick-beaten drum made in various sizes; four ideteta were used with the atenesu to accompany the ajosi dance. In Kenya the ...

Article

Gavin Webb

Bamboo duct flute of Ghana. Its name derives from the roots atente (the type of music played) and aben (Twi: ‘whistle’ or ‘horn’). The famous Ghanaian composer and teacher Ephraim Amu developed the modern atenteben in the mid-1940s, particularly by changing it from a transverse flute capable of playing only five notes to an end-blown vertical flute with a wooden block forming a duct just below a node. He added two fingerholes (making six fingerholes and one thumbhole) to facilitate playing a two-octave diatonic scale. The modern instrument, pitched in B♭ or C, is 40 or 35 cm long. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Nana Danso Abiam, director of the Pan African Orchestra, and Henaku-Pobi, former atenteben instructor at the University of Ghana, developed techniques to increase the melodic range of the instrument and perform chromatic scales in any key through cross-fingering, half-holing, and overblowing to achieve harmonics. The ...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Naucratis, Egypt; fl c200 ce). Greek grammarian and encyclopedist. He settled in Rome at the beginning of the 3rd century ce. None of his works has survived except the Deipnosophistai, a vast compendium in 15 extant books, probably written after 192 ce. Its generic form is that of the literary symposium; as a species, it deals with antiquarian lore rather than such ‘higher themes’ as philosophy. Its main topic is food; the mock-academic title, often translated as ‘The Sophists at Dinner’, properly describes specialists whose learning centres tirelessly upon the joys of the kitchen. The work is not, however, a cookery book.

Many characters engage in this marathon after-dinner conversation; they include representatives of every profession thought to be consequential, among them musicians, both professional and amateur. It has been rightly noted that the diverse themes are related to the banquet itself with but indifferent success. The unified structure of Plato's ...

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Atoke  

Jeremy Montagu

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Michel Domenichni-Ramiaramanana

[atranatrana]

Modern term for a free-bar xylophone found in southeastern Madagascar among the Antandroy, Bara, Mahafaly, Masikoro, Sakalava, and Vezo peoples. The instrument has Southeast Asian origins. It is also known locally as katiboky, kilangay, or valihambalo. It can have up to 12 bars but only five or seven are normally used in a performance. It is played by women. One woman supports the instrument with her legs. She plays a melody while another woman plays an ostinato. The instrument was traditionally used in magico-religious ceremonies, but it is now used for secular purposes, except among the Bara. It is often played at dusk, or to encourage young children to dance....

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

[atsimevu]

Single-headed open barrel drum of the Anlo-Ewe people of the southeastern coast of Ghana. Barrel drums from this region are distinct because they are made of wooden staves joined by iron hoops and are always painted red, blue, or green. The atsimewu, 130 cm or more tall and about 40 cm in maximum diameter, is the master drum of an ensemble that includes the ...

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Atuamba  

K.A. Gourlay

revised by F.J. de Hen

[tuambi]

Bullroarer of the Kuma of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It consists of a slightly concave ellipsoidal piece of wood measuring 30 × 10 cm along the axes. The instrument is whirled by a cord attached to one end and the sound produced is said to resemble the growling of a leopard. The bullroarer has associations with spirit voices and secret ceremonies such as circumcision, and has restrictions against women and non-initiates seeing it, as is customary for other bullroarers of the Congo. The varied names collected by de Hen suggest an onomatopoeic derivation, for example, the Adoi, Amanga, Andebogo and Andowi kundrukundru, Aimed kunzukunzu, Bagbwa and Mamvu egburuburu and arumvurumvu, and Bangba and Mayogo mbirimbiri. This pattern is not always followed, as with the Mbole inano, Nyali upa and Zande gilingwa.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 171ff...

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Atumpan  

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Atumpan  

K.A. Gourlay

[atukpani, atungblan]

Talking drum of West Africa. The atumpan, the principal talking drum of the Akan people of Ghana, is a large barrel drum with a tubular foot open at the base, thus resembling a giant goblet drum. The drums are played upright, usually in pairs (of different tones), by the master-drummer, who uses two angular hooked sticks. They also appear in ensembles as supporting drums. The atukpani is the corresponding drum of the Ewe of Ghana and the atungblan of the Baule people of the Ivory Coast. Atungblan are played in pairs by the chief’s master-drummer, and carry great prestige. On certain days fixed by the chief, the drummer calls to the ancestors by means of rhythmic formulae, and asks them to protect the community. Like other less important talking drums, atungblan are used to summon people to meetings. At public appearances of the chief, they are also used to drum proverbs. They may also be used, with other drums, gourd rattle, and clapperless bells, to accompany the ...

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Aulero  

Peter Cooke

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Jeremy Montagu

Sanskrit term for ‘tied on’ and thus for drums in general. It is one of the four categ ories of Indian instruments as classified in Assam, the others being ghana (idiophones), su ṣira (aerophones), and tata (chordophones).

D.R. Barthakur: The Music and Musical Instruments of North Eastern India (New Delhi, 2003)....

Article

Daniel Avorgbedor

[Aster]

(b Gonder, Ethiopia, 1961). Ethiopian singer. Ashter began her singing career in the early 1970s in Addis Ababa, and performed with the band Roha (formerly Shebele Band). Her formative musical years were also shaped by the music of Bezunesh Bekele and the philanthropy of Ali Tango, which provided motivation for the singer. Ashter emigrated to the USA in 1981 after a few cassette releases (such as Munaya) in Ethiopia and has since produced important albums for Sony: Kabu remained among the top ten of Billboard's world music charts for ten weeks and Aster Aweke Alive was recorded at a sold-out concert in London in 1996. Her popularity spread further with the inclusion of her songs on compilation releases involving multiple artists, such as Afrika, Under African Skies (BBC Videos, vol.2, 1989) and Fruits of Freedom. Ashter possesses a unique musical style that fuses indigenous musical and linguistic traditions with influences from singers such as Donna Summer and Aretha Franklin. Along with Angélique Kidjo and Oumou Sangare, Ashter Aweke represents an important African female voice in the popular music industry. She returned to Ethiopia in ...

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