Other west African instruments, like balafon, ngoni etc.
User avatar
By TwoKnivesTan
I'm looking to purchase a full size shekere with a bead net, but am conflicted as to the pros and cons of natural gourd versus fiberglass. I want to play it with my traditional West African djembe/dunun group. There are no retailers in my area who sell shekeres, so I have to rely on youtube videos for sound samples. So far, I'm leaning between the large Pearl Folkloric gourd, the large Pearl fiberglass, and the LP Pro fiberglass.

All relevant advice is appreciated.

My djembe is vegetarian.. It only eats beats.
User avatar
By e2c
I'll second michi's recommendation. The gourds provide the right kind of sound for the ind of music you're playing.

The fiberglass shekeres were developed mainly for touring musicians (whose gear might get tossed around at times) and for people who play in salsa ensembles and the like. The cutting sound is needed in groups where there are a lot of brass instruments and other percussion, but in your case, not so much. (Equally true of Afro-Cuban folkloric and religious music, which is where US-based musicians got shekeres from in the 1st place.)

Myself, I prefer the sound of a gourd; it's richer and doesn't have the high, ringing sound of plastic hitting fiberglass. While that's desirable in some playing setups, in yours, I think it's something of a liability.
User avatar
By Waraba
And go for wooden beads. The loudest are glass, and if you find high quality glass beads that are safe for your hands, you intersperse them with the wooden ones. But there are different gourd styles. The afrocuban ones are played differently than some of the west African ones and shaped differently. A good person to connect with wd be Kevin Nathaniel Hylton via Facebook. He's hooked up with everything shekere in NYC and will steer you right. One of the best shekere artists on the planet to boot, and a super nice guy.

If she's still in the biz, Google Cheryl Thomas in Brooklyn. She made the two I own.