a level 2 piece.
Gyil (pronounced jee-lee), is the grandmother of the mallet
keyboard family. It is made from fourteen wooden slats that
are suspended, on a frame, over calabash gourds. Its sound
is like our marimba, yet more earthen in character.
It is the national instrument of the Lobi and Dagara people
of Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte DIvoire. Throughout
West Africa, people believe that its woody sound
comes from a vibration of water that physically balan-ces the
water in the bodies of people and animals.
gyil is used for everything in life; from weddings and funerals
to dances and everyday recreation. Nearly every man and boy
can play at least a tune or two on the instrument. Yet the
gyil master (an instrument maker as well as a player) studies
the instrument for much of his life before he is considered
worthy to represent his community at sacred events
its counterpart the marimba, the gyil has a vast repertoire
of solo and chamber music that has been passed from father
to son through the centu-ries. The gyil tradition has set the
tone for the melody-improv-melody form common in
Jazz. Even youngsters who play the instrument are expected
to remember complex pieces and improvise according to dance
movements and singers directives.
Mandara Music Gyil Transcription Series features some of the
best-known pieces for this instrument.
Kakraba Lobi | About
Valerie Dee Naranjo | Performance
a Sample Page of the Music (coming)
Available from Steve Weiss Music
P.O. Box 20885, Philadelphia PA 19141 USA
Phone: (215)-659-0100 Fax: (215)-659-1170