In the first edition of our Music 101 series, we will introduce you to 8 musical instruments from Africa.
Shaped like a goblet, the djembe drum is carved from African hardwood. Its origins can be traced to the great Mali Empire.
Also known as the ‘log drum’, Ekwe is popular in Nigeria and Cameroon. Made from wood, it comes in a variety of sizes and styles. With the large Ekwe, you get deep bass tones while the smaller sizes produce sharper (pitched) tones.
Made from a dried gourd, and beads woven onto a net used as covering, the Shekere originates from West Africa.
Also known as the thumb piano, Mbira originates from Zimbabwe. It is played with the thumbs and one finger.
Historical records show that the Balafon originates from West African Countries: Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ghana. The playing style is similar to the Xylophone.
Made entirely of clay, and shaped like a vase with a narrow neck, the Udu drum was invented by the Igbos (Nigeria).
Traced to Senegal, the Akonting is believed to be the inspiration behind the ‘Banjo’.
The Kora is a popular string instrument in West and East Africa. Twenty-one leather or nylon strings are attached to the top of the neck with leather turning rings.