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Shekere | Homemade Musical Instruments

Shekere

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

Shake up your next celebration with our version of a Shekere (pronounced SHAY-ker-ray), an African percussive instrument used today by world music performers all over the globe.

Materials

  • Plastic jug
  • Beads
  • Craft lace
  • Paint
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Decoratively paint the jug and let it dry.
  2. Cut two pieces of craft lace, one about 60 inches long and the other about 12 inches long. These will be the two anchors for the bead strands.
  3. String 8 or so beads onto the 12-inch piece and tie the ends to form a beaded ring. Trim the ends. Double up the 60-inch piece and wrap it around the jug just below the handle. Tie a very tight triple knot, leaving the excess lace dangling.
  4. For each bead strand, cut a 26-inch piece of lace and tie a double knot about 4 1/2 inches from one end. String on a bead, push it down to the knot, then make another double knot about 1/4 inch from the bead. Continue knotting and beading until you have 6 to 8 beads on each strand.
  5. Tie four of the strands onto the doubled 60-inch anchor strand, equally spaced. Place the jug on its side. Holding the beaded ring centered against the jug's bottom, tie each of the four strands to it. (Note: Leave some slack in the strands so they can shake against the jug.)
  6. Continue adding beaded strands in the same fashion. Finish the shekere by stringing beads on the loose ends of the anchor strands and adding ribbons or raffia around the neck of the jug.

Tips:

For a richer sound, throw a few dried beans or lentils in your jug.

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