|Ewe: Musical Instruments|
Gankogui - Iron Bell
The gankogui, is a double bell played with a wooden stick. It is made out of
Atoke - Banana Bell
The Atoke is a forged-iron bell instrument and is shaped somewhat like a
Axatse - Gourd Rattle
The axatse is a hollowed-out gourd covered with a net of seeds or beads.
Atsimevu - Master Drum
Atsimevu is the tallest of the Ewe Master Drums. In order to be played, it must be leaned over a stand called a vudetsi.To play the drum, the master drummer stands by either side of the drum and either plays it with two wooden sticks or one hand and one stick. It has a carved body of about 4 ½ feet tall a broad belly and a drum head of about 9” in diameter. It usually has an antelope head. In a performance position, the drummer stands parallel beside Atsimevu, which is tilted by the help of vudetsi, bringing the height of the drum head below the chest for a good leverage and aiming position. It is played with two sticks or stick and hand.
Boba - Master Drum
Boba was invented by the Ewe in the 1950s
Sogo can be played as basic master or support. The sogo and the Kidi are seen as Father and Mother. Father being a slightly taller and fatter version of mum, with large head and belly. It is closed at the bottom. It si about 26” tall. With drum head of about 9” It can be played with two sticks, hand and stick or two hands.
The name Sogo was derived from a description of the shape of the drum that looks somewhat similar to the shape of a large gourd calabash commonly used in sacrificial offerings to So, an Ewe divinity associated with thunder. (lit. So - Divinity associated with thunder + go - gourd-calabash).
There are two types of stick techniques in the art of support drumming. Each of these techniques produces a distinct pitch of the support drum pitch series.
An open strike of the stick (a bounce) sung “de” or “ge”. “de” is the lead hand and “ge” is the other,
A closed strike of the stick (pressing the stick on the skin) is sung “du” or “gu” hands as above.
The first stick technique produces a middle range pitch referred to in vocal syllables as "De" or "Ge". This is achieved by delivering a stick shot which rebounds after striking the center of the drum head, allowing the membrane to vibrate in its entirety. The syllables "De" is normally assigned to strokes delivered by the strong hand and "Ge" is assigned to strokes
Kroboto and Tododzi - Master & Support Drum
The kroboto or totodzi are two more types of master drums, essentially the same, differing only in pitch. These are the smallest master drums used by the Ewe. They measure lengthwise around eighteen inches. The two drums are not only used as master drums in some songs but sometimes play the same role as the kidi. The kroboto and totodzi are always played with two wooden sticks, and their player is usually seated.
Kidi - Support Drum
The kidi is a mid-sized drum played with two wooden sticks. It functions mostly as a supporting drum and uses the same technique as Sogo.
An open stike of the stick (a bounce) is sung “ki” or “di”. “ki” is the lead hand and “di” is the other.
A closed strike of the stick (pressing the stick on the skin) is sung “ku” or “du” hands as above.
Kagan - Support DrumThe kagan is the smallest and highest pitched drum used by the Ewe, It is like a very small Atsimevu. It is around 20 inches tall, with a 6 inch head. The kaganu is played with two long skinny wooden sticks, usually with the drummer sitting down. Like the gankokui and axatse, its pattern does not chance for the duration of