12 Traditional Gankogui Bell from Ghana

12 Traditional Gankogui Bell from Ghana
Item# gu-12dubbell
Availability: Usually ships the next business day

This is a traditional bell, handmade from Ghana. It is made of forged iron.

Measurements (Approx)

Height: 12"


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The Gankogui is played in traditional Ewe music. The Ewe are a West African tribe. They mainly live in Ghana and parts of Togo. They are very famous for their music.

Ewe drumming is taught in Universities all around the globe. In an Ewe ensemble, the musicians use various types of drums, depending on the piece they play. But one small instrument is always present: the Gankogui.

The bell usually plays a simple pattern. It repeats itself without changes throughout the whole length of a traditional piece. Now, this may seem easy - but it plays a very important role in Ewe music:

The bell pattern is the "key" to the rhythm. It provides the time line, after which every other instrument in the ensemble orientates itself.

But beware: Don't confuse the word "time line" with "main beat". The bell does not just mark the main beat of the rhythm.

It's a bit more complicated than that:

Ewe drumming (like most African music) is polymetric. This means for instance: While the bell repeats a 4/4 pattern three times, the drums may repeat a 3/4 rhythm four times. So, instead of a common beat, we should rather call it a relation.

Obviously, the bell player must play very steadily to maintain the relationships between the various instruments. Otherwise, he will confuse the whole ensemble.