Musical instruments in Baskeet: Moyza

In Baskeet, a variety of instruments are exclusively used during mourning ceremonies but never played at weddings or other happy occasions, among them are different types of wooden and horn trumpets. Some of them have already been introduced in earlier posts: see my blog posts on the nookka-trumpet, the b’ita-trumpet, the ultuta-trumpet and the rattles.

Today I introduce the most common and the most emblematic Baskeet mourning instrument to you: the moyza. (In fact, I should have presented this instrument to you before speaking about the other less common ones.) On the short video below you see Babbana Tokkiso blowing his instrument:

The moyza is carved from the wood of the mohi-tree (probably cordia abyssinica) and clad in two types of cow skin: a piece of smooth leather from which the hair was removed and a piece of cow skin with hair. The length of the instrument ranges between about 50cm and 1m. The mouth hole of a moyza can be at the top end (see instrument on the video above) or sideways (see the instrument on the photo below).

Terefe Kebbede (from the neighbourhood of Ganshir) is presenting his instrument on the picture below. Note the lateral mouth hole. His moyza-trumpet is about a meter in length and thus much longer than the one on the video. It is also clad in two types of cow skin:

Baskeet mourning instrument: moyza (owner: Terefe Kebbede Fudilukko)

Baskeet mourning instrument: moyza (owned by Terefe Kebbede)

See how the skin is fixed around the instrument:

Leather protection of a moyza-trumpet

Leather protection of a moyza-trumpet

This is a closer look at the mouth hole on the side:

Mouth hole of a moyza-trumpet

Mouth hole of a moyza-trumpet

Apart from the mouth hole and an opening at the lower end, there are no tone holes on a moyza.

Moyza-trumpet seen from below

Moyza-trumpet seen from below

Like other “mourning instruments”, the moyza is played by men during the processions (called korz in Baskeet) that lead up to the house of the deceased’s family on the day after the deceased’s burial. Groups of men of one clan, led by their clan leaders, carrying spears, singing mourning songs and sounding the trumpets, enter the deceased’s compound to express their grief and to participate in the mourning rituals.

The moyza is still quite commonly found in (non-Protestant) households all over Baskeet, though it is definitely in rapid decline. Moyza-trumpets are exhibited in the Baskeet Museum in Laska.

© 2011-2 Baskettoethiopia All Rights Reserved

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Acknowledgements: My thanks go to Terefe Kebbede Fudilukko and Babbana Tokkiso for sharing their knowledge with me.
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4 Responses to Musical instruments in Baskeet: Moyza

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