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Open, variable-tension hourglass drum of the Kilba people of Nigeria. It is played under the arm and struck with a hooked stick. The narrowest part of the waist is nearer the head than the open end. The dang fokku is traditionally associated with the warrior class and used only in their dances and those of the hunters; it allegedly has the power both of inspiring courage and of enticing leopards out of hiding....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Frame xylophone of Burkina Faso. It has 17 or sometimes 18 rectangular wooden bars; all except the one to three lowest bars have large calabash resonators below them with buzzing membranes (mirletons) over holes in the side. It is tuned to an anhemitonic pentatonic scale of three octaves and a tone, with the intervals varying between a slightly narrow whole tone and a minor third. The lowest bars, because they are not resonated and are used differently, are not part of the scale system. The instrument is used for funeral rites, the name meaning ‘funeral repertoire’. It is played with wooden sticks tipped with natural rubber....

Article

Dende  

Andrew Tracey

Braced gourd-resonated musical bow of the Venda of South Africa. It resembles the Shangana/Tsonga (Shangaan) xitende/tshitende in Mozambique and South Africa and the Zulu and Swazi umakhweyana in South Africa and Swaziland. The bow stick averages 1.4 metres long, but can vary from 0.6 to more than 2 metres. It is held vertically with the opening in the gourd held against the player’s chest. The string is struck with a light stick or grass stem. The pitch interval between the two segments of the string characterises each language, the Venda and Zulu using about 200 cents, the Shangaan about 300. One or the other segment is usually fingered up by 100 or 200 cents to give a minimum of three fundamental notes. The opening in the gourd is moved off and onto the player’s chest to provide some measure of selected resonance of harmonics or for a ‘wa-wa’ effect. It is mostly a man’s instrument, used to accompany social and political commentary, but among the Zulu and Swazi it was largely played by young women before marriage. However, like most musical bows in southern Africa, it has become rare. In the 1970s the Zulu musician and Benedictine Brother Clement Sithole pioneered the use of the ...

Article

Deza  

Andrew Tracey

Lamellaphone of the Venda of South Africa. It is essentially the same as the better-known mbira dza vadzimu of the Shona of Zimbabwe, with some variation in note layout. The full name, mbila dza madeza, means ‘mbila of calabashes’, referring to the large calabash (see below) in which it is propped for resonance. It has a heavy tray-type body with a little-finger hole in a bottom corner with which to hold the instrument while playing, and about 26 tongues, often broad and spatulate, in two superimposed ranks, covering more than three octaves in a heptatonic tuning. The two lower octaves are the domain of the left thumb; the upper range is played by right thumb and, plucking upwards, the right index finger. Instruments with bass and treble sides reversed are also found. The ...

Article

Dialle  

Single-headed tubular drum of the Dagari-speaking people of Burkina Faso. The head is of caiman skin, and the drum is held between the player’s knees and beaten with the hands. Two drums are used as part of an ensemble to accompany songs celebrating harvest.

Article

Musical bow of the Bisa people of Burkina Faso. It has a metal string and a half-calabash resonator (attached to the centre of the bow) which is placed against the player’s stomach. The dienguela is used as rhythmic accompaniment to singing.

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Difna  

Animal-horn whistle of the Tuburi people of Chad. Two are used with large cylindrical drums to accompany milk-drinking ceremonies.

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Dikanza  

Rasp of Angola. A length of bamboo, a metre or more long, which has a series of notches carved on one side, divided by a longitudinal slit for resonance. The notches are scraped with a light wooden stick, sometimes by several players, to provide rhythmic accompaniment in popular music....

Article

Dikembe  

K.A. Gourlay and F.J. de Hen

Small Lamellaphone of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a rectangular wooden box resonator containing small rattling stones or pieces of metal, and ten to 12 metal tongues (milondo) tuned heptatonically and often fitted with buzzing rings. Tuning is effected by lengthening or shortening the vibrating length of the tongues, which are secured by a metal pressure bar (...

Article

J. Gansemans and F.J. de Hen

Scraper of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made from a raffia-palm branch, dikulo, 30 to 50 cm long, in which a slit 25 cm long and 1 cm wide is cut. The musician rubs a thin but strong stick against notches cut along both sides of the slit. The ...

Article

Dilele  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Bamboo transverse flute of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It usually has three fingerholes on the front and two on the back.

See Umpindo .

Article

Dimba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has eight to 20 bars, each over a calabash resonator. The bars rest on a frame made of two parallel rails pierced and held together by a long rod bent in a semicircle. When the ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Carved wooden vessel flute of the Bena Mvula of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has one or two fingerholes.

J.S. Laurenty: Systématique des aerophones de l’Afrique centrale (Tervuren, 1974), 89, 92, 95, 109.

Article

F.J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Mwanza of the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are two distinct types, both generally with eight to 12 tongues: one has a box resonator, the other has the tongues mounted on a board. It is also known as kiana (a board with 20 tongues) and ...

Article

Djonga  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Set of stopped flutes used by the Ngombe people of the Ubangi-Cuvette region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The cylindrical tubes are threaded together on cord or wire. The Ngbaka of the northwestern DRC call it djaka.

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

Article

Djumo  

Dance drum of the Monjombo people of the Ubangi region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Djumo is also reportedly the Mandinko word for bougarabou, a West African goblet or conical drum with rope-tuned antelope-, calf-, or goatskin head, open at the base and often decoratively carved and varnished, and commonly played by hand in groups of three or four to back up ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first ...

Article

Dungu  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Cylindro-conical kettledrum of the Nkundo, Jia, and Sakata peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The partially hollowed wooden body usually contains small rattling stones and is usually painted red or red and white. The closed lower end is covered with a hide to which the goatskin head is fastened by leather cords. The height varies between 50 and 160 cm. ...

Article

Dunun  

Rainer Polak

Double-headed cylindrical drum with several varieties widespread among Manding-speaking peoples and their neighbours in the Sahel and Sudan belts of West Africa (Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast). Dunun also is a generic term for ‘drum’ in Manding languages.

The bodies are traditionally carved from wood, but modern shells are often trimmed from recycled metal containers. The heads, of cow, calf, or goat skin, are sewn to a strap running around the shell just below the rim. The straps of both heads are connected by lacing, which applies tension to the heads. The lacing, formerly rawhide or leather, is nowadays mainly synthetic rope. In urban and international contexts, the traditional sewing technique for mounting the heads tends to be replaced by clamp tensioning with iron rings, following the model of the modern ...

Article

Dyegele  

Konin Aka

Term for a xylophone or ensemble of xylophones and kettledrums of the Senufo people in the Korhogo region of the Ivory Coast. The ensemble normally comprises three or four frame xylophones, each with 12 bars slung on cords attached to the frame at each end. Under each bar is a gourd resonator with spider’s web mirliton. All the xylophones have the same pentatonic tuning; they are accompanied by three wooden kettledrums. The players wear iron jingles on their wrists. The ...