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Music Instruments From Africa That You Might not Know

Here are 10 musical instruments that are found in Africa

Music Instruments From Africa That You Might not Know

Africa is music, from her folklore to chants and rhymes for children, Africa has her roots deeply immersed in songs and tunes.

The following are some instruments that are still in use in their original and or modernized forms that you might not know are from Africa.

READ ALSO: The History Behind What We Know as Music

  • Akoting is found in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau and is believed to have given birth to the modern-day banjo. According to word of mouth, the birthplace of the instrument is the village of Kanjanka in Senegal. The instrument has a skin-headed gourd body, with two long melody strings and one drone string. akoting

  • Shekere or lilolo, axatse, djabara, ushàkà, chequere and saa saa (depending on the Country) is an impact instrument that is usually a gourd, either filled with beads, seeds or stones and covered by stringed beads. When hit, it produces a variety of musical effects.

    Music Instruments From Africa That You Might not Know

  • Djembe is a goblet-shaped drum, covered with skin and tuned by ropes. It has been traced to the Mandinka caste of blacksmiths known as the Numu. This musical instrument spread across the west coast of Africa with the rise of the Mali Empire which is now the modern-day countries of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and the Gambia. 

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  • Mbira is part of the instruments which vibrates to produce a sound when struck, shaken, or scraped. It used globally and are known by different names, such as agidigbo, kisanji, sanza, and the marimbula in the Carribean. The marimbula variant is sometimes also used in hip-hop music.

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  • Marimba is a set of wooden sticks that are struck with mallets to produce notes. They have their keys arranged similarly to a piano’s and it was developed in Zimbabwe. The instrument is known as the creator of musical instruments. It was declared the national instrument of Guatemala

    marimba Musical Instruments

  • Kora is a stringed instrument, made from a calabash and covered in skin. It is so versatile it has been classified as a ‘double-bridge-harp-lute and is usually strummed in accompaniment to storytelling, poetry recitation or singing, and has been in use for over 5000 years. It is extensively used in western and eastern Africa and has several versions like the lute, ngoni, gonje and more.

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  • Algaita is a wind instrument that is used in West Africa, mostly, by the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. It is sometimes used in jazz recordings and has its body covered in leather with four finger-holes.

    Musical Instruments

  • Balafon is played like the xylophone and also belongs to the percussion instrument. It can be found in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Burkina Faso. It has been in recorded history since the 14th century and is said to have originated from Mali

    Musical Instruments

  • Udu is basically a clay water jug with an extra hole in it. It is a centuries-old instrument played by the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria. When the player hits it with their palm or fingers, it produces a liquid, water droplet sound.


  • Ekwe is a ‘drum’ made from hollowed-out tree trunks, with rectangular slits cut into the top, and it comes in various sizes, depending on the use. Its variants can be found in Zaire as alimba, Igbo as ekwe, in Congo as mukoku or lokole and Guinea as krin or kolokos. 

    Image result for ekwe



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