Instruments used by Hewale Sounds
by C.Kosi Adom
drawings by Wendy Hymes
(click on instrument's name to view)
Atenteben: A bamboo flute with 7 holes; derived from the Akan area, and developed by Ephraim Amu; a melodic instrument used both as a solo instrument and in ensembles.
Atumpan: Pairs of talking drums, used principally for transmitting messages. They have 2 pitches, low and high, tuned approximately to the tonic and dominant and are capable of reproducing speech patterns; inclined at an angle of 45° and played with two sticks shaped in the form of the number 7.
Gome: A square-framed drum on which the player sits and plays with both hands and feet; was believed to have been brought from Fernado Po by migrant Ga fishermen and Carpenters; has become a regular instrument in the Gome dance type of the Ga in Ghana.
Fontomfrom: Pairs of huge drums about 5 feet tall and used very often with the Atumpan talking drum. They are used exclusively for the praise of a chief - a status symbol of the chief. No individual is allowed to own one without the prior approval of the chief.
Gonje: A single string fiddle of the Dagbon in Ghana; played with a bow and mounted on a calabash gourd covered with crocodile or alligator skin; played by professional musicians (griots) to extol the majesty, valor, and good deeds of the chief or king.
Donno: An hourglass drum whose pitch is varied by squeezing tension strings on the side. Popular used by the Yorubas as a speech surrogate.
Prempremsiwa: (not pictured) A rectangular box with an opening on the front on which is fixed 3 metal lamellae fixed over a sound hole. The player sits on top of the box and uses the right/left hand to play the metal prongs.
Kpanlogo Drums: The name is derived from the Kpanlogo dance of the Ga in Ghana; played by the hands only.
Gyil (Xylophone): A tuned idiophone from the Upper West region of Ghana; used mainly by the Lobi, Sisala and Dagati; is called really as Gyil and is tuned pentatonically. It consists of wooden slabs mounted over resonating calabash gourds with holes bored at the sides over which is stretched a spiders mirliton designed to give a buzzing tone quality to the sound.
Seperewa: Traditional harp lute of the Akan of Ghana; tuned heptatonically but with the leading not flattened; has 8-10 strings arranged vertically in 2 rows; bears a striking resemblance to the Kora of Senegambia. The strings are mounted over a wooden box resonator to which is attached a wooden neck upon which the strings are fastened.