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How to Play African Shakers

Learn how to play African shakers from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.


Speaker 1: These are castanets, Guinea style. What they are basically are just some basket shakers. They're made from a piece of calabash on the bottom, nylon cord, braided nylon cord, and they have rocks in the inside that help give it its shaker sound. They each have different tones. The colors that you see here represent the colors of Guinea - red, yellow, and green.

Another thing to note, they come in different sizes and different pitches. They're wonderful to play. That's such a loud instrument, but it's really wonderful in ensemble playing. Okay? Alright. This is castanets Guinea style. Let's play a little bit of Ba Ba Bemba.

You can hold them by putting your hands in the handles and moving them up and down, like so. That will give you a rhythm. Bemba, what do you think?

Bemba: The castanets, everybody has a different technique of how to play castanets. Some people hold them here, some people hold them in the middle, like this. So is different techniques. So the castanets they play with a different location. They play with a different instrument, the djembe, they play with the singer together. This is an instrument that comes from the forest people.

Speaker 1: And this is how you play the castanets, Guinea style.

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