The Gankeke Bell or Gong And Its Unique History

The Ganeke Bell

What is a Gankeke Bell?

The Gankeke Bell shaped gong is made out of iron, with a long square handle and a large acoustic body. The sound of the gong is used to summon the ancestors and gods. To create the sound, the gong is struck with a wooden stick.

Where is the gong from?

The gankeke bell, or gong, is played in most of southern Benin cultures, but its shape can vary from one region to another, depending on what it is used for. In the Adja-Fon cultural area, small gongs (20 to 30 cm) are used primarily in folk groups. There are also bigger gongs that can be up to 50 cm in length.

What are Gankeke Bells Used For?

Gankeke bells are most often played exclusively by religious orchestras or on the occasion of some funeral ceremonies. The instrument is played primarily by men. On the other hand, the zangbetohoun is a musical group of the secret Zangbeto society in Benin. Its purpose is to ensure the safety of the kingdom. These groups only play gongs. The first gong sets the rhythm and a chorus of gongs follows it, accompanied by a human voice. Besides being a musical instrument, the gong is also a means of communication between the king and his subjects by means of a wandering musician called the kpanligan. This bard is responsible for singing about the genealogy of Dahomey kings or bringing information to the attention of the public. Thus, each reverberation has a precise meaning and conveys a message that can be understood by the initiated. Get your own Gankeke bell on the Africa Imports web site by Clicking Here.