Friday, November 14, 2014

(Letters S - Z) Videos Of Traditional Music Instruments

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is the sixth in a series of seven posts on traditional music instruments throuighout the world. This post features one or two videos of and information about various traditional instruments whose names begins with the letter "S" - "Z".

To access other posts in this series, click the "traditional musical instruments" tag below.

In the context of this series, with a few exceptions such as pan ("steel drums"), vibraphone, and vuvuzelas, my definition of "traditional music instruments" are those instruments that were created prior to 20th century and which are largely unfamiliar to people in the general public (including me).

My thanks to the musicians and vocalists featured on these videos and to all the publishers of these videos.

This series does not purport to include examples of all "traditional music instruments" worldwide.

I love listening to music & I enjoy watching music videos. Unfortunately, I don't play any musical instrument and I've never studied ethnomusicology anywhere but informally online. I'm definitely not an expert on the subject of traditional music instruments.

Sekere (also spelled shekere)

Talking drum (also known as dun dun, dunun; konkoni, kenkeni, sangban, dununba, djeli-dun etc)
Tambourines [also see pandiero)
Thumb piano (also known as mbira, mbila, mbira huru, mbira njari, mbira nyunga, marimba, karimba, kalimba, likembe, okeme; sanza)See the entres for kalimba, marimba, and mbira in this series.
Tin whistle (see entry for pennywhistle)



Washboard (see the entry for rubbard)
Washboard bass




These featured instruments are presented in alphabetical order, with their geographical places of origin given in brackets.

Other featured traditional musical instruments may be shown in the video for the instrument that is showcased in this post. Some viewer comments may be included along with quoted information about the showcased instrument.

SABAR (drums) [Wolof Ethnic Group, Senegal, Gambia]

Sabar Drum + Tama

1WorthRemembering, Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010

Footage of a Sabar drummer performing with a tama (talking drum) player. Filmed in Senegal, Africa in July 2010

Sabar Drum and Dance 2.dv

omarmane, Uploaded on May 15, 2011

Mike Bennett presents... more sabar and dance @ New Jeshwang, Gambia. This program is just outside Janha Kerr in the streets.
Here's a comment from this video's viewer comment thread:

mmmperhaps, 2012
"I like how Gambia and Senegal both do sabar, but have their own styles....Gambia is more laid back, relaxed, "foreigner-friendly" lol, Senegal's is intense, high energy, kicks, jumps, and quite a show. I like both :)"

SAKARA (drums) [Nigeria]

Introduction to Sakara Drumming

motherlanddrums, Uploaded on Sep 23, 2009

This video will demonstrate various rhythm parts played on four different size 'Sakara Drums'.

For more information about us and this Sakara Drum, please visit:

Were Dance with Sakara Drums

Uploaded by motherlanddrums on Sep 29, 2009

This sakara drum perfomance acknowledges the significance of the Were Rhythm in Yorubaland, Nigeria.

This dance is practiced during Ramadan, to recognize in appreciate those who are fasting.

SEKERE (also given as "shekere") [Nigeria]

Yosvany Terry Shekere Solos

martincongahead | October 22, 2009

In addition to being one of the most renown saxophone players, Yosvany Terry is considered one of the virtuoso shekere players. Listen to two solos of this master as performed on October 22, 2009 at Harlem Stage in New York City.

Occidental Brothers Dance Band International – Nyenko

kexpradio | July 19, 2009

Occidental Brothers Dance Band International perform live at the Triple Door in Seattle as part of the 25th anniversary of The Best Ambiance on KEXP. Recorded 6/29/09.


shamisen - a japanese three-stringed instrument

kiuioiuytrew | July 27, 2006
Amazing shamisen music!

The player's name: Osanai Kaoru

The song's name: tsugaru-jonkara-bushi.

...How to play shamisen: Hit strings with Bachi(the large pick)vertically to body,so strings touches body part.When strings touches body,it makes percussive sound.And you have to push strings with your nail when playing the shamisen.

SHOFAR [Israel]

Fanfare 2

Uploaded by robclem7 on Mar 10, 2007

"A shofar (Hebrew: שופר‎) is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Shofar come in a variety of sizes."

SITAR [India]

Amazing Sitar Player

gul23 | April 01, 2008

Prasanna plays a solo performace for Achannak 2007. EXCERPT. Hunter College, October 7, 2007.
This video also features the "tabla".

SPOONS [varrous geographical locations worldwide]

Playing Spoons in Dublin Ireland -- Awesome Street Performer

Yellow Productions, Uploaded on Aug 27, 2011

Declan Walsh plays the spoons on the street in the Temple Bar neighborhood of Dublin Ireland. The Irish are truly a musical nation, and this guy is a great example. Quite amazing what he can do with just a couple of spoons!
See the related musical instrument in the entry for "bones".

See examples that are posted under "pan".

TABLA [India]

Rohan Singh Bhogal - Tabla Solo

Ravi99Singh | December 25, 2007

Tabla Solo in 11 beat cycle. Concert in Edmonton, Canada. For more information check out

TAIKO [Japan]

Taiko Medley

MrQutaibah, Published on Nov 27, 2012

TAMA {Senegal, Gambia]

TAMA-TALKING DRUM-talking together with Ahmadou Ngom - Tam Tam Montreal 2009 Drum Circle

senioritacoco, Uploaded on Dec 16, 2009

The Oubekou's director-the Senegalese drummer Mr. Ahmadou Ngom playing the talking drum here in this video on Mont Royal's Tam Tam in the company of our devoted drummers.The main focus of Oubekou is the creation and diffusion of world music in a manner that builds community and unifies audiences.
Click for more information about Ahmadou Ngom from this video's summary statement

Other examples of African talking drums are given in this series including "dundun" and "dunun.

TAMBORINE [various geographical locations worldwide]

Paolo Cimmino - Video for Meinl Percussion

cimminoframedrumUploaded on Mar 22, 2010

Paolo Cimmino, DVD-Video for Meinl Percussion from "A new way of playing tamburello".

Elder Cook and his Tambourine "Solo"

Jennifer Morgan,Published on Jun 19, 2014

Elder Cook is killin that tambourine at the Ohio Northwest COGIC Holy Convocation & AIM Convention. Clap it, play it under da leg, beat it like a drum, and shout wit it. This man is smooth. I love it!
These two videos only show a glimpse of the many styles of playing the tamborine. An example of a tamborine instrument is also given under "pandeiro".

TANBOUR [Southern Sudan]

Tanbour From Southern Sudan

sfscorpio1 | January 20, 2008
choko586, a commenter on this video's discussion thread wrote
"his song is about war b/n south and north sudan but he sing in his language mix with arab language"...

Sudan Music_Teaser 1 , Mahmoud Omar, Mamovibe. 2011.

omfi, Uploaded on Jan 7, 2011

Sudan Music ,

Tanbour is one of the oldest musical instruments in Sudan.
Most of the Sudanese play The Tanbour.

TASSA [Caribbean]

Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa

Lennita Kumar, Uploaded on Dec 26, 2011

Different hands of Hosay drumming from Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Band which is lead by Lenny Kumar Tassa Extraordinaire.
Some commenters on this video's discussion thread wrote that there are differences between the way that tassa is drummed in the north and south [of Trinidad]. Click for that discussion.

There are also references to "sweet tassa" and "hot tassa".

Tassa drums

Rachael Ali, Uploaded on Jul 28, 2009

Tassa drums being played after my cousin's Muslim wedding ceremony.

Click for information on tassa drum ensembles.

THAKIL [India]

Thakil melam, thakil, traditional, percussion, instrument, orchestra, music, drum, Tamil Nadu, India

indiavideodotorg | February 26, 2009

For more information about thavils click

Videos that feature thumb pianos are posted in this series under "k" for kalimba and "m" for "mbira" and "marimba".


Tito Puente y Charlie Palmieri - Jam En El Barrio

Milton Esteban, July 01, 2008
To follow...
"Timbales (or pailas criollas) are shallow single-headed drums with metal casing, invented in Cuba. They are shallower in shape than single-headed tom-toms, and usually much higher tuned. The player (known as a timbalero) uses a variety of stick strokes, rim shots, and rolls on the skins to produce a wide range of percussive expression during solos and at transitional sections of music, and usually plays the shells of the drum or auxiliary percussion such as a cowbell or cymbal to keep time at other parts of the song."

UHADI and UMRHUBHE (South Africa)

Madosini Manqina - Queen of South Africa's Pondoland Music

Rouvanne | July 05, 2006

Madosini, from Langa township outside Cape Town South Africa, is a master story-teller, composer and musician.

Treating audiences to traditions passed down from generation to generation, Madosini was filmed here playing the Uhadi and Umrhubhe - Rhodes Memorial September 2005.

The text in this video referred to uhadi as a Jewish harp and as Umrhubhe as a mouth bow.

"The Uhadi is the South African version of the Brazilian berimbau, a bow with a single tunable string and an open gourd resonator. In addition to the two fundamental pitches, several overtones from the gourd are available.

First you tune the wire to the pitch you desire. Then you strike the string with a small stick to make it sound. Pinch the string between the thumb and forefinger about 1/12 of the way from the end to shorten the length of the vibrating string and strike again, you will get the second tone. Now, place the opening of the gourd against you chest as you play, and experiment with tilting the gourd opening slowly away from you, and you will hear a "wah-wah" sound similar to the kalimba's "wah-wah". By this technique, you can actually get extra overtone notes." -


Jake Shimabukuro LIVE Ukulele Concert: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Michelle Osorio, Uploaded on Feb 8, 2007

This concert series is a part of my filmmaking portfolio...

VAKSIN [Haiti]

Rara Haiti

Jhonny Celicourt, Published on Apr 19, 2014

Rara is a musical form very popular in Haiti and originated from the colonial era. Basic instruments are drums, bamboo and a couple of percussions made mostly of iron.

Filmed and Edited by Jhonny ''djecee'' Célicourt
Here's an excerpt from an article about Haitian rara and Dominican gaga music
..."As in Carnival, Rara musicians use the goatskin drums of Kongo/Petwo rites, the tchatcha, and scrapers to compose an ensemble pattern that rests on a kata foundation. Musicians also blow the vaksin, a set of bamboo trumpets of various size and pitch. The characteristic augmented fourth of the vaksin scale clashes with the tonality of the songs and lends Rara music a feeling of dissonant polytonality. This penchant for clashing dissonance comes through not only in music but also in brilliant, sequined, multicolored costumes, and in the juxtaposition of vulgarity, politics, and religiosity in song texts. The vaksin circulate melodic motifs in hocket style that recall some vocal styles of Central Africa. "

Another video of Rara music is posted in Part 2 under "k" for "klewon".


Milt Jackson: Round midnight (best version)

diegodobini2, Uploaded on Jun 10, 2010

Japan 1990, Milt Jackson, Mike LeDonne, Ira Coleman, Mickey Roker

VUVUZELA [South Africa]

Viva The Vuvuzela Viva!
Uploaded by oryxmedia on Jun 26, 2009

Its not music to all ears. In fact, it makes such a noise that some European soccer fans and prominent players want it banned during the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Whatever happens, the vuvuzela is so ingrained in South African history that life without it just wouldnt be the same. Some locals say the vuvuzela comes from the traditional Cape fishers bugle while others say it originates from from animal horns. Whatever the legend behind the vuvuzela, it is a key part of soccer on the African continent and the noise of choice to accompany Bafana Bafana on their road to 2010. ITS not music to all ears. In fact, it makes such a noise that some European soccer fans and prominent players want it banned during the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Whatever happens, the vuvuzela is so ingrained in South African history that life without it just wouldnt be the same. Some locals say the vuvuzela comes from the traditional Cape fishers bugle while others say it originates from from animal horns. Whatever the legend behind the vuvuzela, it is a key part of soccer on the African continent and the noise of choice to accompany Bafana Bafana on their road to 2010


Washboard Rhythm Kings 1933

harryoakley | February 25, 2009

Although the personnel is unknown, the pianist is probably Clarence Profit. Note the relaxed mood of the guys and the casual chatting although this was an official film session!

XHALAM [Gambia]

Xhalam playing by Abdulai Saine,Gambia 2002

UlfJagfors | September 25, 2006
This recording was made July 2002 in Banjul and shows a Jali/Griot Xhalam lute player.The Xhalam is semi spike lute that has been used in West Africa for more than 1000 years....
Here's a viewer's comment & the video uploader's response that provides more information about this instrument:
Klezfiddle1-"What an amazing instrument! It is virtually identical to the ancient Egyptian lute, as depicted on Theban banqueting scenes, from over 3000 years ago..."

UlfJagfors-"There is a direct link between the today existing West African lutes and the Ancient Egyptien lutes. Court bard Har-Moses lute (about 1500 B.C) which is on display in the Cairo Museum is in many ways very similar in construction. I have examine that lute on spot. There are a few differencies. The Egyptin lutes were mostly played with a wooden plectrum. They had no short thumb string as on nearly all Griot/Jali lutes. They also encompase frets made of a twisted rope around the neck."


Xylophone solo medley Eksjö Student

trumslagargossen | June 07, 2009
Xylofonmedley framför på studentavslutningen i Eksjö kyrka.

Xylophone medley perfomed at my examination.

1. WilliamTell
2. Super Mario
3. Can Can
4. When the Saints
5. The Entertainer
6.Cirkus Renz
Eksjo is in Sweden.

YIRDAKI [Australia]

Elijah Gunydjurruwuy | Saltwater Band F# yirdaki

ididjaustraliaUploaded on Aug 29, 2007

By popular demand, here's more of Elijah Gunydjurruwuy, the 15 year old yirdaki prodigy from Gapuwiyak (Lake Evella) in eastern Arnhem Land.

From"In Australia, there are several categories of wooden pipe that are structurally and functionally distinguished from each other, though there are overlaps in certain categories.

To the north are the didjeridu and didjeridu-like forms. In the Central Australia region are much shorter, and functionally distinct, forms to the didjeridu.The yirdaki is merely a type of didjeridu, a form that is used by the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land. The yirdaki is quite different to other types of didjeridu because of its particular acoustic properties, though this in itself shows variance according to regional preferences and prescribed law among Yolngu clan groups."...
See the entry for didjeridoo in this pancocojams series.


Magdolna Rúzsa - Felix Lajko - Még azt mondják (folk song) [Hungary]

koldwave | August 26, 2006

Hungarian violin virtuoso Felix Lajko (plays zither here) and singer Magdolna Ruzsa performs a folk song interpretation.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments and additions to this list are welcome.

You may also be interested in my new blog:
Cocojams2 showcases examples of English language playground rhymes, cheers, and singing games, with special emphasis given to African American examples.

No comments:

Post a Comment