Left to right: Kidi (Medium sized drum played with two sticks); Atsimevu (the master drum of the percussion ensemble, combines sticks and hands); Sogo (Larger drum played with two sticks); Kagan (Small drum played with two sticks);
The drum bodies are made of single wooden staves, like Western barrels.
"In Anlo-Ewe cultural understanding, a drum is a super projection of the human voice.
In this view, the role and power of the drum in play embodies the Sub-Saharan concept of combining natural forces of the universe in forming the supernaturals.
In the composition of this conscious experience, human force is combined with other natural forces - skin of animal, hollowed solid tree-trunk, etc. - as a medium for arousing the attention and reaction of mankind.
In a variety of tonal properties - pitch, timbre, intensity, and intricate rhythms - the drum and the drummer, in mutual cooperation, create patterns of consciousness that give a moment of inspiration to those they touch.
Among the Anlo-Ewe, a legendary metaphor, ela kuku dea 'gbe wu la gbagbe means, "a dead animal cries louder than a live one," to explain the human experience that inspired the origins of the drum.
A human being tendens to attract more attention when dead than when alive.
So when the need came to communicate louder, a super voice surrogate was built out of a skin of a dead animal that could deliver the message louder and clearer."
excerpt from: Ladzekpo, C.K - Drums and Drumming.
Anku, W. (2009). "Drumming Among the Akan and Anlo Ewe of Ghana - An Introduction." African Music 8.
Fiagbedzi, N. (1977). The Music of Anlo. Its Historical Background, Cultural Matrix and Style.
Ladzekpo, C.K - Drums and Drumming. https://web.archive.org/web/20090415164952/http://bmrc.berkeley.edu/people/ladzekpo/Foundation.html
Ladzekpo, Kwaku (1977). Cited by Peñalosa. The Clave Matrix; Afro-Cuban Rhythm - Its Principles and African Origins.
Locke, David (1982). Principles of Off-Beat Timing and Cross-Rhythm in Southern Ewe Dance Drumming.
Young, P. (2011). Music and dance traditions of Ghana. North Carolina, London.