Comments in Dust to Digital’s Instagram post and other YouTube videos over the last decade, suggest that shopkeeper Mohamed Gungu is a musical ambassador of sorts. He’s well-known for demonstrating how to play the cas cas for visitors at the Centre for National Culture and the Accra Arts Centre. In this video from Accra, Ghana in 2013, he makes it look easy thanks to years of practice.
Also called a bakita, kashaka, aslatua, and more, this West African percussion instrument is made from two seed-filled gourds, connected so that they can easily click together. From the African Drumming YouTube channel:
Each pod is a gourd from the Swawa tree. When the gourds dry and fall off the tree, children collect them then give them to elders who hollow and fill them with orange pebbles from the iron-rich soil of the Sahel.
Aslatua are played by holding and shaking one gourd in the palm while swinging the second gourd around, creating both sandy shaking sounds and percussive clicks when the two connect. They are typically played in pairs (one in each hand) and are capable of producing complex polyrhythms, when two different rhythms with different time signatures in each hand.
Watch these related percussion videos next:
• The Djembe, an instrument played for the king of Mali
• Melodious stone instruments called lithophones
• Hit the Beat: A drum machine sound experiment
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