This shaker is an instrument of the Ewe people, who live in the Volta
Region of Ghana and
in neighboring Togo.
always accompanies traditional Ewe drumming
It's Role In The Ensemble
The dry, high-pitched and pretty loud sound of this instrument drives
and spices up Ewe music. It's rhythm repeats itself without changes
during the whole length of a traditional piece and is closely
connected to the bell pattern of the Gankogui.
The role of this African rattle is to support and reinforce the bell,
provides the timeline for the whole ensemble.
Axatse players in an Ewe ensemble
In an Ewe ensemble, about four or five rattle players are
usually seated in a
row in front of the drummers.
(I don't know if it's on purpose, but I noticed that it's usually older
men playing this shaker. And they always look so stylish playing!)
Holding the calabash's natural
handle in their strong hand, they simultaneously
their rattles against their thighs (producing the sound "pa")
and against their week hands (producing the sound "ti").
Ghanaian tribes have discovered this Ewe instrument as well.
they usually just mark the beat by shaking the rattle in the
or by holding the handle in one hand while pulling the net with the
Get Your Own Axatse
If you want to be sure to buy an authentic Axatse that was handmade in
West Africa, I wholeheartedly recommend any one of these: