Have you ever seen a shekere from Africa? It is a beautiful musical instrument made from a dried gourd that is shaken, tossed or moved from hand to hand creating wonderful rhythms and songs. Traditional shekeres (or sekeres) are most often made from a type of squash called a birdhouse gourd that grows in many locations around the world. It is grown, dried and about a year later, ready to be turned into an instrument. When the outside of the gourd hardens into a thick shell, it is strung with a netting that fits loosely around the rounded part of the gourd. Beads, seeds, shells or other rattling objects are attached to the netting to create the percussive sound of the shekere.
Since gourds may be hard to find and take some time to dry, here is a simplified version of this musical craft that uses stickers and recycled milk jugs. Also, working with netting and beads can be difficult for tiny hands, so this craft allows young children to create beautiful patterns that are unique and still have an instrument that is fun to play along with African songs or any uptempo music.Objectives:
Students will discover how to create sounds with a work of art they create themselves.What You Need:
It can also be held in one hand and then tapped on the other hand, like you might play a tambourine.
It can be tossed gently from one hand to the other. It can be played by tossing gently from one person to another and works well in a circle.
Some players “burp” their shekere. They hold it in one hand and tap the bottom with the other hand. On gourds, this creates not only a rattling but an “ah” sound. If you try this with your milk jug shekere, you’ll get a rattle and a tap, a nice percussive effect.
What other sounds can your sticker shekere make? Explore it and find out.
Other musical and multicultural craft projects like this can be found at www.dariamusic.com, (under "instruments").
More Information: Photo of traditional shakeres:
Hear a shekere here:
Color a shekere online here:
Check out this great traditional song from South Africa:
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website; located at dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.