African Musical Instruments


The traditional djembe is a goblet shaped hand drum with an authentic goat skin playing surface affixed with rope runners. African djembe drums are hand crafted from a solid piece of hardwood with inner carvings that produce a wide range of tones. Originating in West Africa, the djembe was used as a gathering drum and today is popular worldwide for people of all ages.

diameter. Adenkum songs incorporate specific movements and sounds from the gourd by slapping and tapping it with hands and forearm. Adenkum is a traditional instrument and genre of social music not very well known outside of Ghana.ADENKUM (AH-DEN-KOOM) GOURD CALABASH The Adenkum (ah-DEN-koom) gourd calabash instrument is used by Ghanaian women to accompany their social songs and chants. but gaining popularity in educational setting thanks to the work of Sowah Mensah and others. . Strong calabash gourd selected specifically for use as Adenkum with the following features: y y y naturally dried then cleaned out (reason for the hole in one end) strengthened and beautified with a coat of wood lacquer bulb is about 6-7 in. Adenkum are are hand crafted in Ghana by cultural artisans supported by African Heartwood Project. total length about 15-17 in.

The resonating chamber is the Togo seed. By sliding the gourd over the carved ridges in the cane body a guiro-like sound is produced. This instrument features: y y y y 18" tall cane with carved ribs and leather stoppers 2" hollow Swawa gourd and open Togo seed on leather cord Handcrafted using natural materials in Ghana Playing instructions: 1. grip round gourd in other hand 2. which changes/amplifies the sound of the the sliding gourd hint: the technique of simultaneously holding the handle and touching and lifting the pod on and off the handle with one hand will take a bit of practice. which. touch seed pod to handle in rhythm.AFRICAN SLIDER GUIRO If you could mix a guiro. hold handle and seed pod in one hand. slide gourd up and down stick quickly. in rhythm 3. have fun! . and wawa pedal you'd get this crazy percussion toy we call the African Slider Guiro. can be covered by the thumb (like a vibra-tone) to change the pitch. creating a wawa effect. vibra-tone. when touching the vibrating cane.

The bell is shaped like a large. open walnut shell connected at the top and bottom. which is held by one finger. is a two-piece instrument used in Ghanaian percussion ensembles. as will sound . The ring is used to strike the bell. also known as the grello bell or African castanet. and can be worn on the thumb or held in the opposite hand.FRIKYWA The frikywa (FREE-chee-wah). crisp tones that sing out above the ensemble round ring striker included with each bell due to handcrafted nature of the frikywa. The frikywa features: y y y y hand forged from recycled iron by expert blacksmiths in Ghana variety of clear. size of bell and ring will vary.

also nbolon) is a traditional Mande harp consisting of a large open-top gourd covered with skin. and is said to have association with the warrior class. and 3-4 tunable strings. bridge. with bass hole Thick goat or calf skin stretched over top. 16-18" diameter. Each bolon is hand made in Mali or Guinea using traditional methods and features: y y y y y y Large.BOLON The bolon (bow-LONE. thick calabash gourd. fretless neck. This instrument is lower pitched than the other West African harps like the ngoni or kora. may have resonator attached Hardwood bridge with anchor hold 3-4 leather strings in place Tuning by sliding strings up or down the neck Hand crafted in Mali or Guinea using traditional methods and quality materials . fretless neck extending from end of gourd 32-38". fastened with decorative tacks or stitching Curved.

notched bridge. and features: y y y y Built to musician-grade standards by expert craftsmen in Mali or Guinea using traditional methods Thick calabash gourd body. The instrument consists of a large half calabash gourd body. It is played by holding the instrument in both hands by the hand posts and plucking the strings with thumbs and fingers.KORA The kora (CORE-uh) is an ancient Mande 21 string harp that sounds like a mix between a traditional harp and a classical guitar. 8-9" deep. hand posts. with a notched bridge. This version has the traditional tuning method with hardened leather rings that slide up and down the neck for tension adjustment. solid wood hand posts and bridge supports . and adjustable leather tuning rings Thick hardwood neck extending 32" out from gourd. This ring-tuned kora is covered by our satisfaction guarantee. played throughout western Africa. covered with goat or calf skin. and 20-22 fish-line strings. covered with thick goat skin 21 fish-line strings attached with metal ring. 19-21" wide.

These instruments are built to professional standards in Mali and Guinea.JELI NGONI The jeli ngoni (also djeli n'goni. then "nn-GO-nee") is a traditional Mande instrument. pronounced like jelly. 15-18" long and 4-5" wide Thick goat or calf skin stretched tight and fixed to body with decorative tacks or wood pegs Fretless dowel fingerboard 25-30" long. It consists of a hollow body with goat skin covering (like a drum) with a fretless fingerboard and four to seven fish-line strings. The djeli ngoni is likely the ancestor of the modern-day banjo. a lute played by the jelis. and is still very popular today in traditional and modern Mande music. this instrument features: y y y y y Solid. handcarved hardwood body. strung over a bridge and tensioned by leather straps. tunable with leather cinch straps Hand crafted using traditional methods in Mali or Guinea by expert ngoni builders . extending out of body 14-18" 4-5 thin fish-line strings attached to wood bridge.

The energetic poly-rhythms created with these drums can be extremely complex. as well as to play some popular. the Fontomfrom Ensemble is used to communicate royal messages in Ashanti tribal settings. in sustainable. and is usually very loud given the size and purposes of the drums. West Africa Red tweneboa wood. woven using traditional peg fixing method Two Fontomfrom drums (15-17"x50-55") with vudetsi stands and curved sticks Two Atumpan drums (12-14"x30-32" ) with curved sticks Two Apentema drums (8-10"x20-22") with sticks One Apetia drum (7-8"x19-21") with stick .FONTOMFROM ENSEMBLE Very popular in traditional music from Ghana. oiled with shea butter and coconut oil. and sealed on the outside Shaved cow skins. Here is what this ensemble set features: y y y y y y y y Handcarved using traditional tools and methods in Ghana. legally harvested and carved from a solid piece of wood Wood seasoned. Our Fontomfrom Ensemble Sets are carved by Africa Heartwood Project artisans in Ghana. socially responsible circumstances.

Vocal Music of Latin America .

are standard labels used by DXers to describe the kind of music they hear from Latin American broadcasting stations. did not curtail their usual programs of Ecuadorian pasillos. That is why broadcasters in Northern Peru. "Los Inquietos del Vallenato" attract all Colombians in the area. "Latin rhythms". he would easily fill the concert hall with Hondurans.Spanish music". during the war against Ecuador a couple of years ago. Sometimes the inherent cultural and ethnic factors of a region or a group are felt as more important than political frameworks and boundaries. It is not an easy task to determine the home of a musical variety if you have to choose from more than 20 countries. people of African descent. A large chunk of present-day Peru had in fact been under Ecuadorian rule for more than one hundred years until the area was declared Peruvian soil in 1941. there is usually some local musical flavor to be noticed on most stations. while Mexican rancheras are felt as part and parcel of the local mestizo culture in Central America. Even a native Latin American senses the difficulty. wherever they may be. A Venezuelan showbiz manager catering for Latin Americans Boston area said that he could count on a full Mexican crowd if "Los del Norte" were to perform. Similarly. in the Tigres would go to This explains why local Hispanic broadcasters in the US rarely cater for immigrant minorities. people in Northern Argentina tend to like the same kind of music as many Bolivians. By replacing "Spanish" and "Latin" with. The war was president Fujimori´s idea but this could not instantly erase common cultural heritage. say. feel that Cuban son and other polyrhythmic dance music is theirs. they share a common ethnic and cultural heritage. except of course when he has to identify the kind of music which is unique to his home country. Where there is a majority of Mexicans. . the vagueness of such terms come into the open. Too. "American" and "Anglo". And so. a blend of Quechua and Hispanic traditions. Similarly. there is little reason to play Argentinianchacareras or Ecuadorian danzantes which the majority of their listeners would not like anyway. In Latin America. and should a punta band ever Massachussetts.

A great web source for Latin music of all kinds is Descarga. tropical tecnopop.Los Embajadores "Sombras" . bolero "Mil besos" .For these reasons. pasodoble "España. rock/rap "Mami yo te quiero" . the pasodoble is heard as an intro or as a change of mood in dance parties in Spain. mi bella España" Mariachi Garibaldi tropical Colombian: "La palomita" . The following samples are meant to serve as an appetizer for DXers wishing to taste the richly assorted and good-tasting Latin American musical "smörgåsbord". Mexico. "Sombras" is originally a tango. Ecuador. locally produced in some metropolitan areas.Felipe Pirela Popular in Mexico. Qué pasa is a Venezuelan group. in Venezuela.Los Titanes Peruvian (cumbia tropical andina): "La colegiala" . for example. Common to many areas balada "Quererte a ti" . the Caribbean. This theme was later recorded by Panamanian rap specialist El General. Angela Carrasco is from the Dominican Republic.Qué pasa in Spanish. Peru. Colombia. Venezuela and Colombia which have one thing in common: they allow bullfights. and criollo areas of the Andean countries. See also Boleros: Everblooming Flowers for Everlasting Love Of Spanish heritage. in Argentina. which are banned.Rodolfo y su tipica Bolivian (cumbia boliviana): "El pavo y la pava" "La cerveza" (a "classic") Venezuelan (tropical tecnopop): "Ay amor" .Los Fantasmas del Caribe In Venezuela. . and many others.Los Melódicos "Ella es" . trying to distinguish between the musical styles of the region and learning their whereabouts will give an added bonus to Latin American DXing. Central America. Los Embajadores is an Ecuadorian trio.Angela Carrasco Latin Adult Contemporary. Central America. Bolivia also called tropical andina.

the national instrument of Guatemala. . See Salsamania for a recording of his tune "Mentiras". The late Selena is perhaps the most well known of all tejano artists. Honduras. tejano "El Güero Polkas" . particularly vigorous tradition in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. villancicos. Oscar d'León is one of the foremost Venezuelan soneros. Featuring the marimba.Grupo Niche "La negra no quiere" . Guatemala. often played by mariachi orchestras.Ana Gabriel corrido is also known as ranchera.Carlos Mejía Godoy y Los de Palacagüina Mexican styles.Hánsel Camacho Venezuelan: "Detalles" . "La negra no quiere" is from 1982 or so.Un solo pueblo Puerto Rican Christmas carols.Las Jilguerillas Mexican ranchera balada ranchera: "Es demasiado tarde" . The second example is a ranchera used in serenatas for birthday greetings alongside with the well-known theme "Las mañanitas". Nicaragua and El Salvador.Oscar d'Léon modernized way of playing Afro-Cuban music featuring reinforced brass and percussion sections. The Grupo Niche selections are examples of the "Cali Sound".Grupo Niche Colombian salsa romantica: "Verdades" . and Timba Mexico and Central America corrido (ranchera) "El novillo despuntado" . See also Picadillo (The Starting Point for Salsa Surfers). pasillo Popular in El Salvador.Flaco Jiménez tejano is also known as tex-mex. salsa Caribbean: "Yo no soy mentiroso" Monguito Colombian: "Una aventura" . Costa Rican audio samples: Costa Rica.aguinaldo Venezuelan: "El cocuy que alumbra" . son huasteco son huapango son jarocho son guatemalteco punto guanacasteco tonada Nicaraguan: "Clodomiro el Ñajo" .

bomba "El negrito bembón" . Played on the Sunday Basin and danzón "Rey de Reyes" . pachanga Cuban guaguancó "El bochinche de las emisoras" Orquesta Novel Cuban.Cuban song. The title translates to "The station jumble" (referring to the overcrowding of the broadcasting dial).Caribbean Old-time formal Cuban dance music. and is now widely heard all over Latin America.Cortijo y su Combo A Puerto Rican musical style.Orquesta Siglo evening birthday greetings show on Radio Rebelde (5025 kHz Surrounding XX and many MW frequencies).Pérez Prado y su orquesta Cuban big-band style. 8" . See also What the Soneros are Saying by Frank Figueroa. cha cha chá "Tres lindas cubanas" Orquesta Aragón A Cuban "classic". See Décima and Rumba: Iberian formalism in the heart of Afro&SHY. guajira rumba "El callejón de los rumberos" Yoruba Andabo Cuban Afro-Cuban percussion and vocal style. there are dozens of salsa arrangements of this tune. Interesting salsa vocabulary: SalsaLoca . The Trío Matamoros sample is a "classic". charanga "Sabrosona" .Trío Matamoros "Cómo se baila el son" .La India de Oriente son originated in Cuba.Orquesta Aragon Cuban style with violins and flute. Areas son "Son de la loma" ."El diccionario y lexico" mambo "Mambo No. This sample is a "classic". .

Central America and Mexico. cumbia Colombian: "La pollera colorá" . The Colombian gaita sounds rather like a clarinet. for Christmas and New Year's. The Peruvian group Los Walkers is from Huánuco. so the title of Lisandro Meza´s hit. Bolivia.Los Embajadores Vallenatos vallenato sabanero: "El guayabo de La Ye" Lisandro Meza tamborito . in the region of Valledupar.merengue "O lo matas tú o lo mato yo" Jossie Estéban y La Patrulla 15 "Compadre Pedro Juan" Ramón García. and In Memory of a renowned Vallenato artist. with regional variants in Peru. i.Los Chiches Vallenatos "El Santo Cachón" .Juan Luis Guerra y los 4-40 "A Pedir Su Mano" . a beautiful rendering of a "classic". as the vallenato usually referred to is the one which orginated in the area east of the river. is a place name. "La pollera colorá" was selected as the 5th most popular Colombian tune of this century. is "The Hangover of La Ye". Vallenateando en el Web. Mainstream Colombian dance music. also known as tropical and sometimes raspa. Montería. The two selections are "classics" to be heard once a year on most Colombian stations.Los Walkers cumbia is popular in Colombia and Panama. sabanero refers to the area west of the Magdalena river. Discos Fuentes is a Colombian record label. "Guayabo" in Colombian Spanish means "hangover". meaning the letter Y. popular from Colombia all the way down to Peru. In a special Millennium Poll conducted by Colombia´s RCN Radio y TV.Lucho Bermúdez vallenato "Tierra mala" .Pedro Salcedo y su orquesta Mexican: "Que bello" .Juan Luis Guerra y los 4-40 From the Dominican Republic.Alex Bueno A popular midtempo acoustic/electric style from the Dominican Republic. A Colombian style. The Mexican and Central American cumbia is faster than its Colombian counterpart.La Sonora Tropicana cumbia peruana: "La pastorcita" . bachata "Gotas de pena" . See also Vallenato. Panamá porro "Carmen de Bolívar" . Tambora y Güira is a page dedicated to all genres of the music from the Dominican Republic. The Ramón García sample is sort of a second national anthem of the Dominican Republic. his saxophone and his Conjunto Típico Cibao "La bilirrubina" .e. the town where the main road splits in two can be found not far from the provincial capital.Matilde Díaz con Lucho Bermúdez y su orquesta "Borrachera" . La Ye. which Lucho Bermúdez used to play himself.

Proyecto Uno Venezuela... el yaraví.Hermanos Castro y Bolívar Ortiz The Ecuadorian pasillo is very popular in northern Peru. on 2967. Evolved from Trinidadian calpyso..Los Imbayas "Latidos" . Panama.. The most popular musical style in Guadeloupe. el pasillo. and the Don Medardo is an uptempo rendition.. el capishca.Kassav' Originally from Jamaica.. Usted sintoniza Radio El Saber del Hombre". Martinique.. Peru & Bolivia Punta cumbia .Grupo Kazzabe This rhythm is popular along the Caribbean coastline of Central America. Peruvian jungle area punta y Fiesta . Estos son los ritmos que vibran en el fondo de cada ser humano.. Here is a recording from Radio Runacunápac Yachana.. Two examples of a "classic". More Benítez y Valencia samples are available at Ecuador Nostalgia Rockola. la tonada. danzante. especially Honduras pasillo "Adiós mi vida" . and popular anywhere French is spoken. tonada . el sanjuanito.reggae soca zouk "Zouk-La-Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni" .Benítez y Valencia "El chullita quiteño" . The title of the sample translates to "zouk is the only medicine we have". el aire típico. Visit David Gleason's page for more about Ecuador and Colombia.Don Medardo y sus Players Ecuadorian..Banda Blanca Andean Regions of Ecuador.... el cachullapi. Caribbean basin. To start it off there is an ID in Quichua followed by a music cut. in Ecuador. French Guiana..... at the end of which the signal faded down. albazo.7 kHz. pasacalle "El chullita quiteño" . kind of a second national anthem of Ecuador. The Benítez y Valencia sample is a duo. now popular throughout the Caribbean. el albazo.. Kassav' is a popular group from the French Antilles. dated Jan 17 1993.. now popular throughout the Caribbean. Then comes a music promo containing short samples. 10 to 25 seconds long of each of the styles mentioned: "La música es la expresión de sentimiento y valentía: el danzante. and the tune exists in countless vocal and instrumental versions.. Ecuadorian. el pasacalle. hip hop/dance "Candela" . "Latidos" is an extremely typical example of this style.

Los Reales de Cajamarca "Amor pendiente" . Peru. The stations on 4420.Princesita Mery singing with Pintura Roja group Modern urban Peruvian blend of huayno and cumbia. is one of the biggest shots in Peruvian music. sanjuanero "Sanjuanito de otros tiempos" Los Corazas "Longuita mía" . Many samples at Chichaweb. and 4485 kHz would be typical examples.Hermanos Castro y Bolívar Ortiz The samples are Ecuadorian. lambada "Llorando se fue" .Los Shapis A Peruvian style. in Chiclayo. huaylas "Huaylas de mi tierra" . Visit her site for more information on Bolivian music and dance. The audio quality for these is as received from Radio Gotas de Oro (now Radio Uno). and Bolivia. a Bolivian saya. "Pío Pío" has recently been adopted by the Bolivian Radio Pío XII. You hear his tunes everywhere. La Nortenita is a singer from Trujillo. Not very ideal. as an ID cue. anytime. .La Norteñita "Pío Pío" . Discos Virrey is a Peruvian record label. 4460. Grupo Norte Potosí is a Bolivian charango group. but still better than on some of the Peruvians that play the music. claimed and gained the authorship of the tune. Peru. He passed away several years ago. whose real name is Ernesto Sánchez Fajardo.Los Shapis "Maldigo la hora" . huayño "Tu partida" . this style is also found in Northern Peru. Eveline Rocha claims that Llorando se fue is actually a caporales. Gonzalo and Ulises Hermoza. El Jilguero del Huascarán. Popular in Ecuador.Grupo Norte Potosí sample by El Jilguero del Huascarán A style familiar to any listener of Peruvian radio. which was readapated in the early 80´s by the Peruvian group Cuarteto Continental and a couple of years later presented internationally as "Lambada" by the Brazilian group Kaoma. The two Los Reales samples are from Northern Peru.Los Reales de Cajamarca sample by Los Pacharacos (in Quechua) "Flor de Huancayo" . Siglo XX.Grupo Norte Potosí From Bolivia. Los K´jarkas. In a subsequent lawsuit. not a saya.Los K'jarkas This is the original version. Find an Andean music catalog at Tumi Music. The selection is the "anthem" of the town of Huancayo. yaravi chicha "El serranito" . huayno "Sueño de mi esperanza" .sanjuanito.

seldom heard nowadays. a woman is desperately looking for her lover. joropo "Kirpa" .Los Tolimenses An old Colombian style. rarely heard nowadays. From Chiclayo and Trujillo. a local type of corrido. She runs from one saloon to another to see if she can find him.Juan Vicente Torrealba carrilera "La Cuchilla" . That will help him remember who he belongs to. (There is a non-related style called pasaje in Colombian vallenato.Los Copleros del Arauca pasaje "Sinfonía del palmar" . See also Andean Regions of Ecuador. From Lima. If she does.. Venezuela.Espinoza y Bedoya This is the Colombian brand of pasillo.Hermanas Calle taquirari bailecito sample by Grupo Norte Potosí Pacific Coastline of Peru marinera-resbalosa marinera norteña . There are examples of the marinera limeña and marinera norteña. In the sample.. This is also the name of a longstanding music show on Venezuelan Radio Táchira. pasillo "Mis flores negras" . From Colombia. Venezuela and Colombia. and many other styles at the home page of the musical groups Expresion Latina y Raices Peruanas. A Bolivian style. also known as guasca. the lyrics say. The sample is the signature tune for Ecos del Torbes (4980 kHz) in San Cristóbal.Ofelia Ramón Venezuela and Columbia. From the plains (llanos) of Venezuela and Eastern Colombia. cuatro y maracas. 4830 kHz. Peru & Bolivia. featuring the Bolivian charango instrument. the huylash.Andean Valleys & Regions East of the Cordillera guabina. joropo and pasaje are referred to as música llanera. she will see to it that he'll get a razor-blade scar on both cheeks. The standard instrumental line-up for música llanera is arpa. torbellino "Agáchate el sombrerito" .) A Bolivian style. bambuco "Brisas del Torbes" . (The initial part of this story is readily to be heard on the sample.

It also co-existed in Buenos Aires. but in the XIX century and due to war and other factors the Afro-Argentinian community disappeared. Candombe is now one of the basic sounds for Uruguayan contemporary music. The basic sound is the drum beating. You may enjoy visiting the Musica Paraguaya web site. without any other instrument. also Brazil. Visit the Candombe web site. candomblé Uruguay. Another style from Paraguay. Northern Chile. choir and other instruments. chacarera cueca Paraguay "Litoral" (Corrientes. pianowith a tenor sound. See also La Pagina del Folklore Argentino.Los Chalchaleros From Argentina. and chacarera are called música de tierra adentro. using three bass drums: bombo. Argentina. This sample adds melody.Grupo del Cuareim Candombe is a typical Afro-Uruguayan style from the "Rio de la Plata" (River Plate). the rhythmic repique. . Argentina. vidala. and chico for a high-pitched sound. Heard in Argentina. Bolivia. Misiones) Argentinian. The zamba is at the core of Argentinian folklore. zamba.Los Embajadores Bolivia. A Paraguayan style. Distinct style from candombe. River Plate Area candombe "Yo Tambien" . along with the murga. Not heard much except at carnival time. guarania galopera chamamé sample by Raúl Barbosa From the province of Corrientes. NW Argentina bailecito sample by Grupo Norte Potosí Bolivian music vidala zamba "Luna tucumana" . FaRe-Mi. and Chile.vals criollo "Después que te perdí" . and a living tradition.

Osvaldo Fresedo y su Orquesta Típica Argentina and Uruguay. baião sample baião Luiz Gonzaga is known as "O Rei do baião".Orquesta Nicolás D'Alessandro Argentina and Uruguay.Banda Eva Popular music of Salvador da Bahia. "El entrerriano" was the first tango. also known as pagode. milonga "La puñalada" . See the Top 100 Tango recordings.Chico Buarque de Holanda The music of the Brazilian Carnaval. . axé "Tic Tic Tac" . samba "O século do samba" Mangueira Samba School "Vai Passar" . See the Axé Music Site. Brazil sertaneja sample from the Nordeste sample supposedly from the Minas Gerais area Sertaneja music in Brazil is what the vallenato is to Colombia and the ranchera is to Mexico. punk and rock.Os Farropos sample by Elba Ramalho Especially popular in the Nordeste.cumbia villera Contemporary blend of urban canción de protesta. forró "Alapucha" . tango "El entrerriano" . A place to buy rare Brazilian records at auction is Mara Records. Mangueira is an escola de samba from Rio de Janeiro.