Shekere – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Musical Instruments Glossary

I. What is a Shekere?

A Shekere is a musical instrument that originated in West Africa. It is a percussion instrument made from a dried gourd that has been hollowed out and filled with beads, seeds, or small stones. The gourd is then covered with a net of beads or shells that are strung together in a decorative pattern. The Shekere is played by shaking or hitting the gourd with the hands, creating a rhythmic and melodic sound.

II. How is a Shekere played?

To play a Shekere, the musician holds the instrument in one hand and shakes it back and forth, causing the beads or seeds inside to hit the walls of the gourd. This creates a shaking sound that adds a unique texture to the music. The musician can also hit the gourd with their hands or fingers to produce a different sound. The Shekere is often played in conjunction with other percussion instruments to create a complex rhythm.

III. What materials are used to make a Shekere?

Traditionally, Shekeres are made from dried gourds that have been hollowed out and dried. The gourd is then filled with small beads, seeds, or stones to create the shaking sound. The outside of the gourd is covered with a net made from beads, shells, or other decorative materials. In some cases, synthetic materials such as plastic beads or seeds are used to create a more durable instrument.

IV. What are the origins of the Shekere?

The Shekere originated in West Africa, where it has been used for centuries in traditional music and ceremonies. It is believed to have originated with the Yoruba people of Nigeria, but it is now used in many different African cultures. The Shekere has also been adopted by musicians around the world and is now used in a wide variety of musical genres.

V. How is the Shekere used in different cultures?

In West Africa, the Shekere is used in traditional music and ceremonies, such as weddings, funerals, and religious rituals. It is often played in conjunction with other percussion instruments, such as drums and rattles, to create a rich and complex sound. In other parts of the world, the Shekere has been incorporated into various musical styles, including jazz, Latin music, and pop music.

VI. What are some famous songs featuring the Shekere?

The Shekere has been featured in many famous songs across a variety of genres. In Latin music, the Shekere can be heard in songs by artists such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. In jazz, it has been used by musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. In pop music, the Shekere has been featured in songs by artists such as Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. Its unique sound adds a distinctive flavor to any musical composition.