Song arrangement is getting so complex and instrumentation so international that it is most of the time difficult to recognise how much Africa has influenced popular music through its rhythms, its styles, its instruments. These are 20 African Music Instruments that are increasingly used and popular in sounds around the world.

  1. DjembeThis African music instrument originates from West Africa, most likely the region of Mali and Guinea. It is a hand-held drum played with bare hands. It is up to 3 feet tall and the playing head is 14 inches across. The shell is made of a hard wood and the shaved skin is stretched over the head of the drum with the use of metal chord and rings. Read more about the Djembe here.
  2. Kora: This African music instrument originates from West Africa. It is a string instrument often likened in that sense to a harp. The total number of strings differs between regions going sometimes to 21 or 24. The Kora is built from a huge calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin.
  3. Shakers: This African music instrument adds the spice to African music. It is made from dried gourd with woven beads.

  4. Mbira: It is considered as one of the most popular melodic instruments in Africa. It is used in different ways by different cultures and also exists in different forms in different cultures.
  5. Sanza: This is usually used in Western culture.
  6. Rhythm Gourd: This is a percussion instrument that is made of Cowrie shells.
  7. Rattles: This African music instrument is commonly used during sacred ceremonies. This is one of the reasons why it plays a vital role in African religions.
  8. Mini Ashikos: It is made of solid wood with skin heads that produce traditional sound.
  9. Bells: Just like rattles, this African music instrument is also used during ceremonial or ritual functions.
  10. Tanzania Whistle: It is considered as two tone wooden whistle.
  11. Nyanga Pan Pipes: This African music instrument is a set of four instruments from Mozambique. The music played in this instrument is challenging and exciting that usually involves singing and blowing of rhythmic patterns.
  12. Xhosa Uhadi bows: The scale is made harmonic series that results from overtones of two notes that are played on single string. This African music instrument will encourage you to explore new horizons.
  13. Kudu Horns: It is a set of six horns that represent cross pollination of musical traditions. The sound is mellow and warm that will lend a heraldic and unique African accent.
  14. Akadinda: This African music instrument is played in the Greater of Central Africa. It features a strong wooden echoing box that creates unique notes.
  15. Drums: This is one of the most popular African music instruments that are usually used in special ceremonies in the Greater of Africa.
  16. Kalimba: It appears in different continent with various names and features.
  17. Balafon: They use this as their form of communication.
  18. Udu: The name of this percussion instrument derived from tribal language which means pottery.
  19. Zulu Hide Drum: It is a hand drum that is covered in Kudu hide.
  20. Boba: It is the richest and lowest sounding drum in Africa.