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Shakers & Rattles from Ghana and Nigeria


Shakers -  We offer many different types of shakers.

Axatse - A double-bulb (the smaller bulb serves as a handle) gourd shaker covered with a beaded-string net. 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 one end and the fibrous material and seeds are removed. 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 Axatse

Long Seed Axatse

Double and Special Plastic Bead Axatse

Motherland Axatse Shakers Comparison

Bead Net
Larger Gourd Portion Diameter
Job's Tear 12.00 18.00 26.00 32.00 40.00 
15.00 22.00 30.00 36.00 42.00 
N/A N/A 35.00  40.00 N/A
Long Seed 15.00  20.00  26.00  32.00 36.00 


Maracas -  We offer several different types of maracas.


Gourd Ball Maraca - 8.00, Gourd Ball Maraca, Stick (mounted on a stick) - 10.00

Triple Seed (Televi) Maraca - 10.00

Tin Maraca - A traditional rattle from Yorubaland. These rattles 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.

Tin Maraca, Uncovered (pair, left) - 12.00, Tin Maraca, Covered (pair, right) - 14.00

Gourd Maraca - This is a nice, lightweight Maraca with a "traditional" sound that one could argue represents the type of instrument that is imitated in Spain and Latin America. The timbre is bright and dry. The fiber-covered wire handle is flexible and easy on the hands; this instrument is where the rattle meets the shaker!

 Gourd Maraca (with fiber-covered wire handle) - 10.00 each


Caxixi (pronounced "ka-SHE-she"). These caxixi are handwoven basket-type rattles with seeds or pebbles inside and gourd bottoms that produce most of the sound. Played in pairs or one at a time, a caxixi can produce a wide range of sounds depending on size, filler material, and the density or thickness of the gourd bottom.

From Benin

From Ghana

  5" 7" 9"     3" 4" 5"
single 10. 15. 20.   single 3. 8. 10.
double   22.     double   16.  

Ekpiri -  Smooth, shiny palm seeds strung on a wooden stick, string handle, or attached to a woven raffia belt.  About the size of a Brazil nut, these seed rattles produce a twinkling, piercing sound. Held in the hand and shaken to keep time or wrapped around the leg or waist to add rhythm to a dancer's moves. From the Ibo regions of Nigeria.

Fiber Belt Loop Handle Wood Handle
# of seeds Price   # of seeds Price   # of seeds Price
8 to12 10. 30 15. 30 20.
18 to 22 20. 60 25. 60 35.
40 30.
60 40

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.

Ideh (Belt)   Ideh (Wood Handle)
12- seed 5.00    100- seed 25.00 
24- seed 10.00    200- seed 35.00 
50- seed 15.00       
100- seed 20.00       

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.

 fiber belt handle
100 - 150 seeds 13.00 150 - 200 seeds 20.00

Palm Frond 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 rattle adds a subtle, pleasant rhythmic accompaniment to the wearer's movements. Approximately 20" long. 3.00 per strip.

Televi - Medium - 8.00/pair,  Large - 10.00/pair

Kosika / Televi / Kashaka - Known by many names, this is a simple musical instrument played by children and adults in West Africa. Two small gourds are filled with seeds and attached to both ends of a sturdy black cord. In play, one of the balls is held in the palm with the string going between the first and middle fingers and over the thumb. The other ball is flipped over the top of the hand and caught in the back of the palm with the little finger. It makes a clicking sound when the two balls touch, and a pleasant small shaker sound (more natural than western plastic "egg shakers") as the two balls are shaken. 

Rattles -  We offer unique & different types of rattles.

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). We also offer a nice 8" Single-Bell Kpoko for 10.00.

kpokokpoko.jpg (21160 bytes) Kpoko-Kpoko (3 sizes, 1 Plain style)

Size Plain Design
8" 7.95  13.95 
10" 11.95  21.95 
12" 15.95  29.95 
14" 21.95  39.95 
16" 24.95  49.95 
20" N/A 59.95 


Y-Rattle - 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. 10.00 each



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 used together in the same simple rhythm.15.00 each

Wasamba (aka Clack-Clack) 

GOAT TOE RATTLE  - Cleaned and dried goat hoofs (aka "toes" but actually toenails) produce a shake-shake sound. Made either attached to a cloth band with hook and loop fastener (aka Velcro), or mounted on one end of a wood stick.

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


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.


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


TOGO SEED RATTLE - About 3/8" thick and 2" across, these hollow brown seeds make a hard clacking sound, like horses hooves on pavement. There are always twelve of these seeds found in a long bean pod. They are 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. Dancers in Togo tie belts of these seeds around their waists to create a rhythmic effect while singing and dancing. Click here to read more about these rattles.


loop handle   belt   wood handle
30 seed 15.00   30 seed 25.00   30 seed 20.00
60 seed 30.00   60 seed 38.00   60 seed 35.00


GITA -  The is a calabash bowl with shells tied to it's edge. It is usually played by women. It is held with both hands and twisted back and forth, the shells or beads clack against the hard bowl to make music. It can also be plopped cut side down a beat like a drum.

Togo Mali Burkina
12"   14" 10"
40.00 65.00 40.00


Peru Seed Rattle - We are not sure from what fruit the seeds used inside these are derived, but they are definitely from Peru. They are grouped in hand-held bunches. It's a nice, warm shaker sound that is not overpowering! 10.00 per bunch

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