Local musical instruments in Nigeria


Local musical instruments on Nigeria: You might not be aware of this, but Nigeria is home to a wide variety of interesting traditional musical instruments. We would want to tell you more about each of them because they have played significant roles in the development of Nigerian music over the course of its history. Learn the names of these thirteen distinctive musical instruments so that you can have a more intimate connection to the culture that your nation embodies.

Instruments used for making music in Nigeria

Although there are certainly more than just 13 musical instruments that have been used in Nigeria throughout the years, we have chosen to limit our selection in order to tell you a little bit about each of them. Of course, there are more than just 13 musical instruments that have been used in Nigeria. In such case, all you would be able to learn about them is their names and nothing more than that. In addition to that, quite a few of them actually seem pretty similar to one another. In light of this, we have compiled a list of Nigerian musical instruments that ought to adequately sate your appetite for information.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

This unique piece of percussion equipment has its roots in Yoruba culture. Because it is constructed from of dried out vine gourds, every single one of these instruments has a unique appearance. The gourd needs to be allowed to dry for a few months before the pulp and seeds can be extracted from it. After it has been thoroughly cleaned, a net that has cowries or beads weaved into it is used to cover the surface. It is noteworthy to notice that countries in Latin America have a tradition of using an instrument that is very similar to this one.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

The previous instrument should not be confused with this one, which is a circular drum with a shallow depth that is constructed out of clay and animal hide (goat, antelope, cow, etc.). In addition to this, it is one among the musical instruments that people from the Yoruba culture play.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

The djembe is yet another type of drum that is common in Nigeria. It has a drumhead made of unprocessed rawhide and ropes that are now made of synthetic materials. The goblet-shaped shell of this instrument is constructed out of wood, and it has ropes made of synthetic materials. The djembe is one of the drums that can produce the widest range of sounds, making it one of the most versatile instruments. The literal meaning of its name is “let all people congregate together in harmony.” This instrument has acquired popularity all across the world; therefore, you should not be shocked if you find it being performed in other countries.

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Local musical instruments in Nigeria

This instrument is known by a variety of titles, depending on who you ask; but, due to the fact that it is capable of producing sounds that are eerily similar to human speech, it is sometimes referred to as the “talking drum.” In most cases, it has the shape of an hourglass, although there are also other possibilities. This drum, in contrast to the majority of others that are played in the area, consists of two drumheads that are joined together by tension cords made of leather.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

Now, despite the fact that ekwe is, in true actuality, a drum, its appearance is not at all what you would anticipate. It is fashioned from a hollowed-out log of wood and features a handle in addition to two apertures in the shape of rectangles. The beating out of a rhythm typically involves the use of tiny sticks by musicians. Due to the fact that its sounds can be heard from quite a distance, ekwe was previously utilized as a communication tool. Nowadays, you can hear it during events that are traditionally held.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

The Igbo people have a pretty unusual instrument that looks like this. In scientific parlance, we refer to this device as an idiophone and an implosive aerophone. If you are thinking that it resembles a clay water jug, then you are correct in that assumption; however, this one has an extra hole in it. Udu is an Igbo word that literally translates to “vessel.” This is a hand-played instrument that, in times past, was typically performed by women throughout a variety of events.

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Local musical instruments in Nigeria

The agidigbo is a member of the lamellophone family of instruments along with other similar instruments. Although it has the appearance of a wooden box with a hole and tongues made of metal, it is possible for it to be constructed out of different materials, such as gourds or turtle shells. It is possible that you are familiar with it because it is the great-grandfather of the contemporary kalimba and a close related of the mbira. To play it, one needs to use their fingers to pluck the metal tongues and generate rhythm by tapping on the edges of the box.

Bata drum

Local musical instruments in Nigeria

As you may already be aware, Nigeria is very fond of its drums, and now we are going to tell you about yet another one of them. The shape of a bata drum is fairly comparable to that of a djembe drum; however, the curves on a bata drum are much more gentle. In addition, they each come with two drumheads, and you are able to play either one of them. Those from the Yoruba culture, as well as people from other parts of Latin America and the United States, use them mostly for religious purposes.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

Let’s take a short break from playing the drums so that we may discuss the kakaki, which is a long trumpet made of metal. This instrument can be up to four meters in length, so when we refer to it as “long,” we are not exaggerating at all. At the King’s Palace, only men are allowed to portray the role of Kakaki. In Nigeria, the Hausa people are the ones who use it the most.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

While we are discussing Hausa instruments, let us tell you about kontigi. It is a stringed instrument. It is a type of lute that has one or two strings and a long handle, and it is possible that it is a very distant relative of the banjo. These days, Kontigi are played very infrequently, so savor the opportunity to hear and watch it being played if you ever get it.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

The ogene is another another fascinating musical instrument that originates in Nigeria. It is a traditional Igbo instrument, and it typically comprises of two iron bells shaped like cherry and joined to one another at the top of the conical bells (big long metal cherries). To play it, you will need to make use of a wooden stick. When the hollow bells are struck with the stick, the sound of the ogene is produced since this causes a vibration in the bells.

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Local musical instruments in Nigeria


This is another string instrument that originates in West Africa and is quite similar to the kontigi. It contains one to five nylon strings that are joined to the hardwood neck and soundbox by a membrane made of calf skin. It is interesting to note that xalam players typically create their own instruments by themselves.


Local musical instruments in Nigeria

Let’s wrap up this summary with a phrase that literally translates to “huge drum.” The previous types of drums are smaller in comparison to this style of drum, which is crafted entirely out of wood and features intricate carvings. The visage of Olokun, the goddess of the sea, is one of the sculptures that is particularly sought for. This instrument is usually utilized in conjunction with talking drums, in addition to sakara drums and Bata drums. During that time period, it was only used for the king’s service, and anyone who dared to play it for any other purpose risked being jailed for sedition.

Our article on Nigerian musical instruments, which includes names, descriptions, and photographs, has hopefully helped you become more knowledgeable about traditional Nigerian music. Have you ever tried your hand at any of those games? Were you any good?:) Is your preferred musical instrument included on this list? Tell us the details!


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Local musical instruments in Nigeria

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