These percussion instruments are from Asia (India, China), Africa (Angola, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria), Australia, and South America, (Brazil). They are all on Yellow Bell CDs. Most of them are played with the hands. The sound is produced by striking, shaking, scraping, or moving the instrument.

Musicologists would divide them into two main classification of instruments: membraphones (using a membrane or skin - usually a drum) and ideophones (shakers and clackers). I have a hard time deciding which category some of them fit into so I have a miscellaneous category also.

Membraphones (drums)


The Bata drum has an animal skin head on both ends. Played by the Yoruba tribe from Nigeria at religious ceremonies, they are also used in Cuba for sacred music of the Santaria religion.

Clay Pot

From Africa and India. Of varying size with one or two holes - struck with the open palm producing a bass tone. The sides of the pot are struck with the palms and fingers producing a higher pitched sound.


The Djembe's shape comes from the East but the drum's origins are in Guinea, Africa. The music of the Djembe originated primarily in Guinea, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast.


Arabian in origin, commonly found in Turkey, the Balkan countries, and North Africa. A drum with a goblet or chalice-like shape.


Used in Northern Indian Classical Music. Set of two drums with goat-skin heads played by hand. The larger drum is usually made of copper or clay and the smaller drum is made of wood.

Riq - Mid-Eastern Tambourine

Egyptian tambourine with fishskin head, mother of pearl inlay, and brass jingles.

Kanjira - Indian Tambourine

This Indian Tambourine has a unique sound because the snake-skin head can be made very loose by wetting it, allowing a bass tone unexpected from its size.

Ideophones (shakers or clackers)


Large gourd from Kenya covered with chips of wood laced together. Shaken and struck by hand.

Rain Stick

Hollow stick with seeds or pellets inside which make the sound of rain when falling from one end to the other as the stick is turned upside down.


Gonkogui - African Bell

Originally from Ghana, these two metal bells are joined together as one. They come in many sizes and pitch relationships and can be played with sticks, mallets, or the fingers.


A Brazilian instrument originally from Angola. It is the instrument of the capoeira, a sport combining martial arts and dance. The Beirmabao has one metal string (corda) connected to a wooden bow approximately 5 feet in length

Cajon & Kajita

The Cajon's ancestor is a simple wooden box. During colonial times slaves were prohibited from having drums so wooden boxes were used. The "rumba de cajon" (dance music) was performed at political and social events.

Indian Bells

Brass bells varying in size from 1/2-inch to one foot in height. Unusual and varying overtones create a unique sound .

Mbira - Thumb Piano or Kalimba

The African Mbira also called the Kalimba has metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard or a gourd. These keys are plucked and struck with the fingers and thumbs.

Wah-Wah Bell

Metal Bell that has a chamber at one end filled with water.

Water Drums

From West Africa. Large gourds are filled with water, smaller gourds sit open side down into the water creating a deep resonant tone when struck.