History of the Kosika

Found along the West Coast of Africa, the kosika is first and foremost a children's toy. In Ghana, the children use the kosika to pass the time, playing as they walk from village to village, or sitting in a circle where friendly competitions detirmine who can play the most styles. In Mali, women primarily play the instrument to accompany their songs. In other cultures, the kosika is used to call the spirits during religeous ceremonies.

 

The kosika is found all throughout
West Africa and therefore has aquired numerous names. In Ghana alone it is known by the names kitikpo, televi, asalatua, akasa, bakita, kokosiko, and kosika
just to name a few.

 

The traditional kosika are made from
the seed pods of a vine which grows in certain trees. Children fill the seed pods with pebbles or seeds then connect them to either end of a piece of string securing the string to the pods with beeswax, small wedges made of gourd, or by tying a knot in the string and pushing it through the hole in the seed pod.

 

The kosika has two voices, a click
and a shake. As you shake the kosika, the balls swing around your fingers, clicking together to create endless rhythmic phrases.

  Since the traditional kosika tend to
break easily in certain climates,
Rad Rhythms has developed a durable plastic kosika which has both a loud shake and a strong click.
To hear a demonstration, go to the Home page
and click the play button below the video clip.

 

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