Shekeres are native African rattles made from hollow gourds wrapped with beads, shells, or other small materials to make noise. They are traditionally made from calabash, a type of gourd that grows close to the ground. Modern shekeres may be made of coconut shells or fiberglass. The sound of the shekere depends on the shape of the gourd used.
Types of Shekeres
Kinds of Shekeres include the following:
Traditional shekeres have rounded heads with elongated handles. They produce loud, crisp sounds with higher pitch than other shekere shapes.
Toca shekeres have oval or egg-shaped heads with wide curved handles. They are usually made of fiberglass and weigh half as much as traditional shekeres.
Tube shekeres are long and cylindrical, designed for easy grasp and faster rhythms. They may be made of fiberglass, metal, or plastic, with synthetic cords added to control the beads.
Choosing Shekeres (Buying tips)
Bead pattern: Choose a shekere with slightly loose beadwork for a louder, fuller sound. Smaller beads sound smoother and softer and are ideal for setting moderate rhythms, while the larger beads or shells have a clunky sound suitable for accenting high-pitched instruments. Grip: Choose a shekere that you can hold securely in your hand. Look for one with a curved or textured handle to keep it from slipping while you play.