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Shakers & Rattles from Ghana and Nigeria

Shakers -  We offer many different types.

Axatse - African gourd shaker covered with a beaded-string net (pronounced ah-HAHT-say). This is a timeline instrument that adds liveliness and vitalaty to the music ensemble. 

We offer three bead types: Plastic (most popular for its loud timbre) Job's Tear (natural hard seed), and Long Seed. Each gourd is hand-picked for its roundness and long handle. A hole is cut in the bulbous end and the and seeds are removed and the fibrous material scraped out. The remaining hard, thin gourd shell resonates differently depending on the bead type used by the maker. These are handcrafted in Africa by experts; each one is a small work of art. For more information on the Axatse, click here.

Job's Tear (white seed) Axatse, various sizes shown

plastic bead type

Assembling axatse


Caxixi (pronounced "ka-SHE-she"). Handwoven basket-type shakers/rattles with seeds or pebbles inside and gourd bottoms that produce most of the sound. Played in pairs or one at a time, caxixi can produce a wide range of sounds depending on size, filler material, and the density or thickness of the gourd bottom. The cane baskets are dyed with a variety of interesting natural dyes (indigo, etc.). One caxixi, two caxixi, three caxixi, now you're shakin'! A Motherland favorite gift for that "percussionist who has everything."

caxixi Caxixi from Benin (9 & 5 inch, 7-inch double caxixi)

caxixi Caxixi from Ghana, 3, 4 & 5-inch, & 4-inch double

Motherland Music African Caxixi Pricing
Caxixi Made in Benin   Caxixi Made in Ghana

Palm Rattle - Folded palm leaf strips with small seeds inside each compartment are strung together on sturdy nylon cord. Wrapped around the arm or leg of a dancer or drummer, this shaker/rattle adds a subtle, pleasant rhythmic accompaniment to the wearer's movements. Approximately 20" long. 4.00 per strip. This is arguably both a rattle and shaker (depdending upon how the dancer moves or how it is played by hand).


Shakers/Maracas -  We offer several different African types.

Gourd Maraca - This is a very simple shaker consisting of a gourd filled with seeds, either alone or mounted on a wood stick. Its sound is similar to "regular" maracas as most percussionists are familiar with them (from Latin America). Decorated with Adinkra symbol. Made in Ghana, west Africa.

Gourd Ball Maraca (left) - 8.00 each, Gourd Maraca on Stick (right) - 12.00 each

Gourd Maraca, Covered-Wire Handle - This is a nice, lightweight traditional African Maraca with a sound that represents the type of very popular instrument imitated in Spain and Latin America. Good for both ceremonial and popular music, the timbre is mellow and dry (unlike synthetic imitations). The fiber-covered wire handle is semi-flexible and easy on the hands. Please note that maracas of this type (made from gourds, which vary in sonic properties by nature and are not pitch-paired) are sold individually. If you request a matched pair when ordering more than one, we'll try to accomodate.

 Gourd Maraca (with fiber-covered wire handle; 2 shown) - 12.00 each

Shekere - Nigerian gourd shaker. We offer a great selection of 100% hand-assembled African shekeres, from the smallest to XX-large sizes. Bead colors and designs vary (please specify first and second color preference if ordering by e-mail or phone; we will gladly accomodate if we have either of your color preferences in stock). Most shekeres use standard 1/4" x 3/8" plastic beads. Our two smallest sizes use a smaller round bead. There are two types of netting available, one with the regular amount of beads, another with more beads. To see more pictures of shekeres, click here.

idi  Shekeres (various sizes)

Motherland Shekere Pricing
Regular Beads More Beads
Size Price Size Price
Please call (special order)

Tin Maraca - A traditional maraca-type shaker with handle from Yorubaland. These tin maracas are made from recycled tin cartons and contain medium-weight pea-sized natural seeds. Has a unique metallic timbre. We also have a limited supply of handsome African pattern cloth-covered tin maracas (until they're sold), that sound much like other, traditional maracas.

15.00 each, 26.00 pair

Triple Seed Maraca - The same type of seed pod used in the Televi makes a nice, subtle maraca sound. Three pods per maraca.

Triple Seed Maraca - 12.00 each

Rattles -  We offer several unique & different African types.

EkpiriSmooth, shiny palm seed husks strung on a wooden stick, nylon cord (loop handle), or attached to a woven raffia belt. With palm seed husks about the size of Brazil nuts, these rattles produce a loud, piercing sound. They're played hand-held and shaken in rhythm, or wrapped around the leg or waist to add sound to a dancer's moves. From the Ibo regions of Nigeria.

Ekpiri (Loop Handle, left front; Fiber Belt, center rear; Wood Handle, left rear)

Motherland Music Ekpiri Rattles Pricing
Fiber Belt
Loop Handle
Wood Handle
8-seed  10.00         
20.00  30-seed  15.00  30-seed  20.00 
40-seed  30.00  60-seed  25.00  60-seed  35.00 
60-seed  40.00         

Gita - The Gita is a calabash bowl with shells tied to its outer edge, traditionally played by women in Africa (in dances representing their traditional role carrying produce to the marketplace). Held with both hands and twisted back and forth, the shells or beads clack against the hard bowl to make a jangling rhythm. It can also be placed on the player's lap (cut side down) and plopped like a coconut shell or played with fingers or mallets (like a water drum), producing a full, hollow thump tone.


Motherland Gita Calabash Pricing
Togo Mali Burkina
12"    10" 
45.00    40.00 

Goat Toe Rattle - Cleaned and dried goat hoofs (aka "toes" but they're actually goat toenails) produce a shake-shake sound. Made either attached to a cloth band with hook and loop fastener (aka Velcro®), or strung loosely on the end of a wood stick. CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK

goat toe rattle Goat Toe Rattles on Cloth Band, left and front; on Wood Stick, right rear. (All 3 types currently out of stock, sorry.)

Motherland Music Goat Toe Rattle Pricing
Cloth Band Wood Stick
12-hoof 10.00 12-hoof  N/A
24-hoof 16.00 24-hoof 13.00

Ideh - Nickel-sized seed shells attached to a palm fiber belt or wood handle. Used as an arm or leg rattle, they produce a subtle, sprinkling sound. These seeds grow mainly in the eastern region of Nigeria. The Ideh rattle is used by dancers in traditional and masquerade dances. For more information about Ideh (larger seed) and Idi (smaller seed) rattles, click here.


Motherland Music Ideh Pricing
Ideh, belt   Ideh, handle
24-seed  6.50 
50-seed  12.50 
100-seed  18.00 100-seed  24.00 
200-seed  N/A  

Idi - More than 100 seed shells attached to a woven palm leaf fiber band. Used as an arm or leg rattle, these seeds produce a wonderfully soft rainstick sound. Slightly smaller seeds than the Ideh rattles, each Idi seed is roughly peanut-sized. These musical rattles are commonly used in eastern Nigeria. For more information about Ideh and Idi rattles, click here.



Motherland Music Idi Pricing
Idi (Belt)   Idi (Handle)
100 - 150 Seeds  13.00  150 - 200 Seeds  20.00 

Kpoko-Kpoko - Double-bell hand-carved Wooden Bell Rattle from eastern Nigeria. This instrument produces a very unique wood clattering/rattling sound. These are traditionally used by herbalists and in masquerade dances. For more about Kpoko-Kpoko rattles, click here. Available in Plain (no decorative carving on the bell exterior) or "Design" (with decorated exterior carving).

Double-ended (2 bells) is standard. We also offer a plain 8" Single-Bell Kpoko for 10.00.

kpokokpoko.jpg (21160 bytes) Kpoko-Kpoko (3 sizes)

8 12.00
10 26.00 
12 32.00 

Kenari Seed - Various types; anklets, bracelets, sticks, bunches. Type shown in image no longer available. Seed from the yellow orlander or wispering tree. Prices range from 15.00-40.00. Contact us for more information.

Peru seed rattle

Asalato - Televi / Kosika / Kashaka / Kitikpo / Two balls on a string - Known by many names, this is a simple musical instrument played by children and adults in Africa. Two small dried and hard shelled fruit pods (oncoba spinosa) are filled with seeds and attached to both ends of a flexible cord. In playing, one of the pods is held in the palm with the cord going between the first and middle fingers and over the thumb. The other pod is flipped over the top of the hand and caught in the back of the palm with the little finger. It makes a clacking sound when the two pods contact, and a shaker sound (more natural than western plastic "egg shakers") when shaken. You can learn how to play this instrument here.

idiSmall- 5.00 one hand, 8.00 two hands, Medium size- 8.00 &14.00,  Large- 10.00 &18.00

Cane Shaker - Made with a round cane or rattan material. Flattened bottle caps are used for the jingles. Makes a light metallic tambourine sound. They are easy to hold and play. Based on the ancient sistrum rattle found in Egypt and still played today in East Africa. 12.00 each


Togo Seed Rattle - or entada rheedi, these seed husks are about 3/8" thick and 2" across. Hollowed out and a dark brown color, they make a hard but mellow clacking sound, like horses hooves on pavement. There are usually twelve of these husks found in a long bean pod. Each one is removed and dried; later, one end is cut and a hard gum is pulled from the inside of each seed.  Made into bunches with a string handle or attached to a woven grass belt. Preforming artists in Togo (and elsewhere) tie belts of these seeds around their waists to create a rhythmic effect while singing and dancing. For more information about these rattles, click here.


Motherland Music Togo Seed Rattle Pricing
Loop handle   Belt   Wood Handle
30-seed  16.00  30-seed  26.00     
60-seed  26.00  60-seed  44.00  60-seed  40.00 

Wasamba Rattle (aka Clack-Clack) - comprised of approx. 2" diameter disc-shaped gourd pieces mounted on a spindle that is connected to a smooth wood handle. Also called a gourd sistrum. Very easy to play, this instrument gained popularity in the disco era of the 1970s because it sounds like hand claps, especially when several are played in unison (in the same simple rhythm).15.00 each

wasamba Wasamba Rattle (aka Clack-Clack)


For more-detailed product/shipping info. please e-mail dan@motherlandmusic.com
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