Musical instruments from Africa

Musical and traditional instruments in Africa

Musical instruments from Africa

This section is intended for the musical and traditional instruments of West Africa and aims to list without fully delving the different traditional instruments of West Africa. The musical instruments are diverse and very varied depending on the area or the type of musical activity that is required.

In Benin, there is a varied “tam-tam” drum and each of them intervenes in different ceremonies.

The “SATO” is a rhythm of the Adja-Tado ethnic group that takes place during funeral rite ceremonies. It is performed with a pair of ”Sato” drums: one symbolizes the man and the other symbolizes the woman. The sato drum has a cylindrical shape, is made of wood and cowhide.

“Guélédé” is a ceremony performed by the Yoruba-Nago ethnic group of Benin, Nigeria and Togo. At the end of the harvest songs are held in Yoruba or nago, music of four tam-tam and masked dances. The impressive effects of the ceremony make the Yoruba people say that “the eyes that saw the lord”‘s eye have seen the supreme spectacle” (oju to ba ri Guléédé, ti de opin iran). “The Heritage of the “Guélédé” was proclaimed in 2001 and then inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The most striking is the style of clothing and the masks characteristic of The Glédé.

The mask of Gulédé is composed of two parts. The bottom represents the face of a quiet woman in a simple and static conventional way. The upper part is, on the contrary, very lively and complex and is linked to the creativity of the artist. It is the symbol of women’s inner powers. The figures of animals such as: the snake are often used as a symbol of power and feminine qualities, patience and cold blood. It is also a symbol of vigilance, because according to the proverb “the snake sleeps, but she still sees”. The bird is the messenger of the “mothers” and represents the evil night powers of witches.

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