Posts Tagged ‘Engalabi’
The Ensasi instrument is commonly found in traditional Ugandan music, particularly in east and central Uganda.
It is a class of musical instrument called a shaker, typically a gourd and sometimes modified to have a stick handle. The gourd is hollowed out and filled with dried seeds. This allows for a shaking motion that is a polyrhythmic companion to more melodic instruments like the mbira or fiddle.
There are various types of ensasi. For instance, in northern Uganda the device has a different shape and it produces a unique sound. This instrument moves from side to side to produce a continuous sound of beads moved within the shell.
Some ensasi have holes to produce a more hollow sound and some are made of tin and not natural vegetable material.
All musical instruments in Uganda play an important role in society. They are a large part of the history and cultural heritage of the people by their existence in the fabric of therapeutic, psychological and social planes.
Ugandan musical instruments serve different functions within various communities which accounts for broad differences across regions with one instrument. Some populations lived side by side and viewed their instruments in similar ways for like purposes, however other villages far from one another, with different politics and climate, evolved their music sometimes in opposite directions. The same material could produce a vastly different sound for different occasions.
Traditional music of this country features drums, logs, xylophones and the shakers. Along with the ensasi, other musical instruments of Uganda include the amadinda, ennanga, endingidi, engalabi, enkwanzi and the sansa.
When visiting Uganda you may be able to purchase these works of art for the eyes and ears. Along with the craft shops in the street stalls of Uganda, you can find traditional woodcarvings, basketry, and hand make instruments. You might find an ensasi to bring home to your family.
Diversity in African music instruments is what gives them their unique sound quality. African instruments include a range of string and percussion devices with cultural and religious significance.
Here are some typical musical instruments from Uganda:
Kikuyu: This is a type of fiddle made from a gourd. In Africa children often make their own instruments and they are taught how to do this from an early age. It is not uncommon for four year olds to make instruments for themselves and this is something they can handle.
Engalabi: A traditional percussion instrument resembling a long, small drum. It has a reptile skin that is nailed to the wooden frame. Lately the Ugandan government has discouraged the practice of using reptile skin but the tradition continues. This instrument is played with bare hands.
Enkwanzi: A panpipe also called an oburere. It means “little flutes” and it is made from bamboo or elephant grass. The nodules on the grass block the passage of air and gives the instrument its pitch. The reeds are assembled, large to small and tied together with string. Western flutes with finger holes are believed to have evolved from this ancient musical device.
Ensasi: A shaker made of two gourds with stick handles used to accompany other instruments in traditional Ugandan music especially in the eastern and central region. In northern Uganda there is a unique sound because the beads move side to side in a tin shell or gourd with several holes.
Basoga Lyre: Made with lizard skin and tied with animal skin like the drums and harp. Strings are assembled with wood woven through holes. The Endongo, or Danda Lyre has one hole and the Entongoli, or Soga, has two pieces of banana fibers or barkcloth around the yoke.
As you can see, these instruments are quite different from the ones cultivated in Europe, and the musical experience is equally wondrous with African music instruments.