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Igbo Pottery: The Udu Drum

How long has pottery been part of Igbo society? Pottery has been part of Igbo culture for centuries, with some… Read More »Igbo Pottery: The Udu Drum

How The Udu (Earthen Pot) Keeps Water Cold – African Technology


The process of evaporative cooling has been used across Africa for centuries. Below, we’ve done our best to produce an infographic explaining just how this process works.

What is an Udu? Udu is an Igbo word which means vessel. An Udu is a clay pot which is often often used as a water carrier. (It can also be used as a drum).

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Culture: Igbo Instruments

Below is a list of common Igbo Instruments


The ubo-aka is a “thumb piano” of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. This instrument features a wood-burnt hardwood soundboard (with cut-out handholds) mounted on an incised, woodburnt gourd resonator. Instead of the traditional metal cuffs around each key, a metal chain is stretched across the key. One other distinctive fact about this remarkable instrument being that it was by definition, the oldest existing musical instrument in Nigeria, there being no evidence of any older specimens anywhere else in the country. (Sources: +


The IGBA (Cylinder-drum) is a piece of hollow wood covered at one end with animal hide held down tight with fasteners. The artist carries it over his shoulder with the help of a shoulder strap. The artist produces the sound by beating on the animal hide with his fingers or combination of one set of fingers and a special stick. The cylinder-drum accompanies dances, songs, religious and secular ceremonies, and its tunes have been known to gave special signals for good news as well as bad news. These drums often accompany many other instruments. Traditionally, the deeper shelled Igba are played with the hand, while the shorter drums are played with a curved stick. In an ensemble these drums often lead, and are used to “talk” by the talking drummers. To tune the drum, the player will use a strong object to whack the pegs around the drum in order to restore its best tone. (Source:

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