Musical instruments: Bells

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 (see here, here and here) and two types of idiophones: rattles and bells. The rattles are held by men during the mourning rituals while the bells are held by women. Both instruments help to create the soundscape for the expression of condolences during the mourning ceremony.

Click here to listen to a recording of the sound of bells and rattles accompanying people’s expressions of grief. The following video (which was already referred to and explained in my blog post on rattles) shows men shaking rattles and women ringing bells:

The Baskeet name of the mourning bells, d’ok’dok’a, is one of the most difficult words to pronounce for me. The noun contains two different glottalic consonants, two implosive d-s and two ejective k-s (glottalisation is marked by an apostrophe in the Latin-based orthography). Click here (d’ok’d’ok’a) to listen to a recording of the noun.

On the picture below you can have a closer look at a mourning bell:

Mourning bell from Baskeet

Mourning bell from Baskeet

The mourning bells are similar in size to the bells worn by cows in Baskeet. Cow bells are called luuli (which is much easier to pronounce!). They are made of a folded piece of metal with a vertical gap where the two ends of the metal piece meet. In contrast, the mourning bells are round-shaped and without a gap. Compare the picture above and below. Both types of bells have the same clapper.

Cow bell from Baskeet

Cow bell from Baskeet

If there is no mourning bell at hand, women can also take a cow bell to the mourning ceremonies. I’d be interested to know how widespread bells are in mourning ceremonies elsewhere in Ethiopia and how they are called in the individual languages. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.


Acknowledgments: The recording of the noun d’ok’d’ok’a was made with Dutse Tamiru.
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This entry was posted in Mourning ceremony, Music, Musical instrument and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Musical instruments: Bells

  1. Pingback: Musical instruments in Baskeet: Drums | Basket to Ethiopia

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