World Music Instrument: The Agogô

The first in a planned series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that students in World Music in the Schools enjoy working with . . .

The agogô is an instrument used widely in West Africa, Brazil, and throughout the world. The name comes from ágogo (AH-go-go) meaning “double bell” in the tonal Yoruba language and is onomatopoeia for the two sounds it makes. In my classes for the Center for World Music we use the Afro-Brazilian agogô (ah-go-GO). The agogô is a type of handbell similar to our cowbell. It has two or more bells attached to a handle and is played with a wooden stick. The bells can be made of metal, castanhas-do-Pará (Brazil nut shells), coconuts, gourds, wood, or large seeds. The agogô is found in a variety of Afro-Brazilian musical styles including maracatu, maculelê, batucada of the samba schools, afoxé, songs of capoeira, and more. It is used in ceremonies and rituals of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.

—Stefanie Schmitz, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

Agogôs in action on YouTube:  Demo with Stefanie | A Four-Toner in Brazil |  Brazil Nut Shell Agogô

More on Stefanie: