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Akete (or kete) are drums commonly used in Nyabinghi music, and kete is sometimes used to refer to one of these drums, the "repeater".[1][2]

Percussion instrument
Other namesAkete, kete
Classification Percussion
Count Ossie, Ras Michael

Akete drums consist of a larger bass (or "baandu") drum, a "funde" (or "fundeh"), and a "repeater".[3][4] The funde and repeater are of similar size, but the funde has a slack drum head while the repeater has a tighter head, giving a higher note.[3] The drums are double-membraned, with heads are generally made of goat skin.[2][5]

The bass drum is typically held in the lap and beaten with a padded stick (a tennis ball is often used), while the funde and repeater are held on the floor between the knees and played with the hands, the funde with the palms and the repeater with the fingertips.[6]

Originally from the Asante of modern-day Ghana (which is also the name of the dance which the drums are used for) via the trans-Atlantic slave trade[7] and then in Burru music, which was played in Jamaica as far back as the early 20th century.[3][6] They became commonly used in Kingston ghettos in the mid 20th century, after being introduced by migrants from rural Jamaica.[8]

Famous akete players include Count Ossie and Ras Michael.


  1. ^ Moskowitz, David Vlado (2007). The Words and Music of Bob Marley. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-275-98935-4.
  2. ^ a b Hebdige, Dick (1987). Cut 'n' mix culture, identity, and Caribbean music. Comedia (US). p. 39. ISBN 978-0-415-05875-9.
  3. ^ a b c Moskowitz, David Vlado (2006). Caribbean Popular Music An Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-313-33158-9.
  4. ^ Roberts, June E. (2006). Reading Erna Brodber Uniting the Black Diaspora Through Folk Culture and Religion. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-313-32074-3.
  5. ^ Garfield Smith, Michael; Augier, Roy; Nettleford, Rex M. (1978), The Rastafari movement in Kingston, Jamaica, University of the West Indies, p. 14.
  6. ^ a b Murrell, Nathaniel Samuel; Spencer, William David; McFarlane, Adrian Anthony (1998). Chanting Down Babylon The Rastafari Reader. Temple University Press. pp. 233–4. ISBN 978-1-56639-584-7.
  7. ^ Joseph S. Kaminski, Asante Ivory Trumpet Music in Ghana: Culture Tradition and Sound Barrage.
  8. ^ Edmonds, Ennis Barrington (2003). Rastafari From Outcasts to Culture Bearers. Oxford University Press on Demand. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-513376-9.