In the United
Kingdom we are used to listening passively to recorded music, but
in rural Africa, live music, dancing and singing play a important
part in every day life. They accompany the daily tasks such as grinding
the maize and working in the fields as well as being used in ceremonies,
rites and festivals. Rhythmic patterns accompany the pounding of millet
into flour and it becomes music and song. For Cub Scouts, music plays
an important role at camp, particularly in welcoming visitors.
instruments are made by the people themselves using whatever is available
from the local natural materials. This means that the instruments
will differ from region to region.
Rhythm - Ugandan
children love playing rhythm games and here are two for you to try:
Groups take it in turn to clap the rhythm of a well-known song.
If nobody recognises the tune that group gains a point. If the tune
is recognised, everyone joins in singing and clapping for one verse.
Everyone stands in a circle with one member in the centre. That
member turns and faces someone and claps and stamps out a short
rhythm. If that person can imitate the rhythm successfully the person
in the centre moves on until he can beat somebody. If that person
fails he has to take the place of the one in the centre.
Form your own
Ugandan band by making instruments from whatever comes to hand. You
could add extra to your band by making and wearing an African
drum represents Uganda's culture. The Bantu tribe devised
sets of drums which copy the sound of their language. 'Talking drums'
carry sound further than the human voice and this is how the bush
telegraph was developed.
need a catering size tin with the top and bottom removed or the
thick cardboard tubes that are used in carpet shops, heavy duty
polythene sheet or inner tubing, reinforcement rings, cord and
scissors. In Uganda zebra skin in often used to cover the drums.
Make a water
drum using a metal bucket a quarter filled with water. Stretch
some thick plastic over the top and tie firmly in place.
- A rattle
This is another type of instrument that is very popular. Use squashed
bottle tops on a wire frame and wrap the handle with insulating
- Shakers. Collect
together dried peas, rice, macaroni and so on and place varying
amounts into yoghurt cartoons before covering with colourful paper.
that are popular in Africa are flutes, whistles, lyres and harps.
Animal horns are used to make sounds. Try using a short length
of plastic piping to produce a sound. Encourage members to decorate
their finished instrument with brightly coloured paint, shells,
beads and coloured ribbons. Your local library will have books
on how to make musical instruments and how to make music.
up a poem It might be about your town or village, a recent
special sectional event or camp. Now recite it together making your
own sound effects and rhythmic clapping and feet tapping.
- Find your group.
Think up a number of well-known songs or rhymes, then write them
out on small file cards with one line on each card. Make sure you
have enough for everyone. Members have to find the other three people
with their song or rhyme. Everyone then sings their song or says
- Musical terms.
On large card write a musical character or note.
round in a circle to some music. When the music stops, the leader
calls out one of the characters or notes. Everyone has to try
and run to the correct place. Last one loses a life or is out.