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greatlakes: music

When you think of Great Lakes music, think of drums. For the Baganda, one of many Great Lakes people, drums are a symbol of power. Each clan has its own special drum beat and set of drums that are used to call out from one clan to another. Baganda drums come in different sizes depending on their significance and use. For that reason, the most important Baganda drums belong to the kabaka, the revered Baganda king.

drum / drum stick
Akasozi Bamunanika (Baganda)
In Baganda society, the king still retains a mystique of supreme power. This song praises the palace of the Baganda king, called Lubili. The melody takes its title from the name of the hill on which the Lubili palace stands. Akasozi Bamunanika is played with an eight-string lyre, a one-string lute, and a laced, conical drum.
Listen to the song. Music credit: ILAM, Rhodes University

Zzaaya (Baganda)
This song tells a humorous tale about a Baganda man who is taken to a hospital and eventually dies after taking various medications. A traditional melody, it is played with a small, laced, conical drum and accompanied by hand-clapping.
Listen to the song. Music credit: ILAM, Rhodes University

Tanganyika (Gogo)
Tanganyika was the colonial name for the country now known as Tanzania, which won its independence from British rule in 1961, and united with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1963. This recording praising the lands of Tanzania is of a spontaneous performance by the Gogo people, who live in the central part of the country.
Listen to the song. Music credit: ILAM, Rhodes University

Photo and Object Credit:
American Museum of Natural History
Drum, 1949

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