The ashiko is a straight-sided drum originating with the Yoruba
people of Nigeria and Ghana. It was introduced into the US in the
1930s, by Baba Moses Miannes of the Igbo people in Nigeria.
Traditional ashikos may have been carved out of a single piece of
wood; most ashikos made today are constructed out of staves, like
a barrel. They have a tapered shape, with the narrow end being open
and the skin over the wide end.
The ashiko is meant to be played with the hands. Like the
djembe, an ashiko will produce a deep tone when it is struck in
the center of the head and a higher-pitched tone when struck near the edge.
Early ashikos may have had the skin attached with tacks. Today,
most ashikos found in the US have their skins attached with a pair of
steel rings at the top, one smaller one further down, and a rope
zigzagging back and forth between these. These zigzags are called the
"verticals". To tune the drum, another piece of rope is woven
through the verticals to tighten them. This activity, called "pulling
diamonds", results in the "Mali weave."
A tool of the ninja warrior, consisting of spiked steel bands worn
around the insteps of the feet. These foot claws helped the ninja
to climb walls and trees, and could also be used in combat.
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