This gourd shaker is traditionally known as the axatse (ah-HOT-say) in Ghana, but is also known more generically as the shekere (SHEH-kuh-ray). Each dry, hollow calabash is hand selected for thickness and proportion, then dressed with a lattice work of Jobs Tear Seeds. This extra large axatse has had the stem removed, leaving a hole in the gourd, and has a rope installed which allows the axatse to hang from the neck and be played freely with both hands. Unlike the standard axatse or sasa, this axatse is not played by gently tugging on the blue rope, but by tapping the bottom of the gourd with both hands, creating a high pitched staccato striking sound which is really effective for keeping time in any size ensemble.
All Africa Heartwood Project axatse feature:
- Strong gourd body is hollow and dried, ~9" wide and ~8" tall
- Adjustable-length rope to allow the gourd to free-hang around the next and to play with both hands.
- Whole natural seed beads intricately labyrinthed in web of bright blue string
- Rubber strip at the neck keeps seeds and string from coming loose or sliding up the gourd
- After import from Africa, each instrument is cleaned, inspected, tuned, and played individually to check sound and quality.
- Hand crafted in Africa by village cultural artisans supported by the non-profit Africa Heartwood Project.