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Ogene Anuka

Elaborately designed bells are much encountered in the musical culture of Igbo people. The Ogene Anuka is a unique type of bell. It is the "master instrument" in the bell orchestra of the Omambala River Basin. Its compositional features and specialized traditional technology are what make it unique. The bell has a flattish, conical shape, and is hollow inside. Most bells have two heads, but they can be made as large single bells. Sound production is a result of the vibration of the struck iron body, made to resound by the hollow inside of the bell. The iron body is struck with a soft wooden or fibrous stick.


The bell is widely distributed in Africa, but is most prominent in the music of the Igbo people. It is made of iron by specialist blacksmiths. The music style in which it figures originated in Agulueri (a farming/fishing Igbo community on the Omambala River basin of southeastern Nigeria), but the construction of these unique bells is a specialty of craftsmen in Awka, an iron-smithing Igbo community. Migration within Igboland has made it possible for blacksmiths to settle in the performance community of the Omambala river basin, but many Ogene Anuka performers still travel to Awka to order their instruments.

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