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Ideh and Idi Rattles

Ideh                                            Idi

The Ideh and Idi rattles are made from seed husks of fruit seeds commonly found in eastern Nigeria (and Cameroon). Ground Idi seed is also used as a peppery African seasoning, while the substantially-larger Ideh seeds are usually only found and harvested during the dry season and are not normally regarded as a foodstuff (like their cousins, the widely-used, somewhat larger Togo seeds [we sell Togo Seed Rattles, too]). Though from different plants (Idi=Lepidium sativum; Ideh=botanical genus unknown [its name is derived from the Hebrew word ideh meaning "praise"]), these seeds produce similar "sprinkling" sounds (of substantially different volume and timbre due to size difference) when stranded together on a belt or rattle. These rattles or belts can be worn around a dancer's wrist(s) or ankle(s) for a traditional or masquerade dance. In traditional lore, women were allowed to use these seed rattles as a dancing instrument, but were forbidden by the eastern-Nigerian elders to eat the fruits from which they are removed, for reasons known only to the elders. Both seed rattles produce a pleasant rainstick-like sound and make for an interesting visual/aural effect during dances.

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