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Ghana (Africa)
Axatse, Gonkoqui

Pronounced ("ah-hot-say"), is a hollow gourd rattle with bamboo, wooden, glass beads or seeds woven around it on a net. Pictured here are the seeds. In Ewe culture, the seeds are like the petals of the "forget-me-not" flower, whereby, like the petals of the flower, the seeds are cast to determine if he or she forgets me, or not. The "axatse" is held loosely around the neck of the gourd with one hand, while the other hand acts as a stationary, striking mallet. The gourd is rhythmically raised up and down in between the striking mallet hand and the thigh of the player to produce sound and create rhythms. The axatse and "gankogui" commonly play together as a unit or section, and are heard here together.

Pronounced (" gone-co-gui "), the bells provide the key, rhythmic pattern for much of African music. A bell is like a muted drum, and the one pictured here is from the Anlo Ewe people of Ghana, Africa. This and similar instruments to the "gankogui" are played by neighboring countries and surrounding cultures. The gankogui consists of two differently-pitched bells joined together so that when traditionally played provide a melodic-like, ostinato (repeating) pattern. The gankogui is held in one hand and sits vertically on your knee or lap while the other hand strikes the bells with a stick. The "axatse" and gankogui commonly play together as a unit or section, and are heard here together.

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The WORLD BEATS video features live, costumed performances of ancient, ethnic, percussive traditions. Aaron Plunkett puts it all together in this fascinating 33 minute program. SEE MORE...

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