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10 Most Popular Musical Instruments

African continent is undoubtedly a very rich one. It is famous for its unique traditions, culture, cuisine, bright colorful clothing and for its celestial music. And when it comes to music instruments, there are probably no equals. See the list of most popular African music instruments and their specifications.

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Famous in West African countries, this musical instrument consists of closely woven beds forming a net. The net is placed around a gourd. The sound comes either from shaking the instrument or slamming it against hands.


If you know what a xylophone is, then you can imagine it as something similar. The instrument is made of wooden planks that are bound by a string and placed over large gourds. To play the instrument, you should hit it with small clubs or mallets.

 Talking Drum

The talking drum is an hour-shaped drum that is usually placed under the arm. To pitch the sound, one should press or squeeze the narrow edge.


One of the most famous stringed instrument is the Kora, also known as ‘Jali’. It looks very similar to the guitar featuring 21 strings placed on a gourd covered with an animal skin.


Would you like to learn play the piano with your thumbs only? Kalimba is the right instrument to try. It consists of metal strips of various lengths, which are placed on a resonator made of wood. The sound is produced by plucking the ends of the flexible strips.


Jembe (or also known as Djembe) is an African type of drums, consisting of animal skin stretched over a curved piece of wood. The top part is usually wider than the bottom one and this is where the hole is curved out.


Marimba is just another type of African xylophone. Just like Balafon, it is made of wooden planks placed on a wooden box. The sound is produced by hammering the planks with the sticks.


Originated from Nigeria, ubu is another type of African drum. From its appearance, it resembles the vessels used for carrying water from the river. Unlike other above mentioned instruments, it is made of clay.


Mbira looks very similar to Kalimba and the thumbs are also used to play this instrument. The two rows of metal strips of different dimensions are placed on the wooden resonator, which is the actual sound box.


Algaita is a wind instrument, which is very alike to Oboe. Made of reeds, it comes with a wide opening at the base and open finger holes. It is very popular at festive ceremonies in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and other regions.

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