Ghanaian Souvenir Recommendation – Must-Have Musical Instruments From Ghana

One good way to spend your vacation in Ghana is to enjoy the sounds. Different regions of the country offer their own authentic music and musical instruments, and you could still enjoy them even if you have returned home by getting your own locally-made Ghanaian percussion, stringed, or wind instrument. Here are some great options:

Akan Drum

Made from two different species of wood that are native to the African region and covered with drumskin made from deer hide, the Akan drum was invented in Ghana around the early 18th century. It was said to have been brought to America by slave traders who had their slaves dance to the beats for exercise. It is an important piece in the British Museum, as it is the oldest object of African-American origin kept there.

Aburukuwa

Shaped like a bottle, with pegs that hold together its skin, the Aburukuwa is a type of drum from Ghana’s Ashanti Region. It is used by the Ashanti people in various ceremonies and rituals, such as ancestor worship, funerals, and during wars. The old Aburukuwa drums were commonly covered in black and red to signify bloodbath and death.

Atenteben

Made of bamboo, the Atenteben is a flute-like instrument from Ghana’s Ashanti people. Before the 20th century, it was frequently used during funeral processions, but later became typical in classical and contemporary musical compositions, and in performances that feature young musicians from Ashanti’s schools.

Fontomfrom

The Fontomfrom was originally used as a communication tool by a group of Ashanti people to relay messages to and from the Ashanti royalty. Later on, it became an important piece in musical ensemble performances for ceremonies for Ashanti monarchy and chiefs. It started out as an hourglass-shaped instrument, and has evolved into the more common drum shape of today.

Gyil

A significant musical instrument in the culture of the Northern Ghana people, the gyil is a type of xylophone that is commonly played with a kuor, which is a type of drum, in funerals. Made of wood, it consists of a wooden frame with 14 keys.

Seperewa

A type of string instrument that is believed to have been invented in the 17th century in Ghana, the Seperewa is a harp-lute chordophone variety that is made up of between six to fourteen strings. It is played by either setting it on a standing bridge or resting on the player’s lap, and then strumming using the thumbs.

Rakatak

The rakatak is a type of traditional Ghanaian percussion instrument that is made of wood, with a number of calabash gourd shells attached to it. It is frequently used in performances that feature neo-pagan and traditional African music.