Turtle shells in traditional Latin American music

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    Turtle shells have long been used all around the world for building different types of musical instruments: from the gbóló gbóló of the Vai people in Liberia to the kanhi of the Châm people in Indochina, the rattles of the Hopi people in the USA and the drums of the Dan people in Ivory Coast. South and Central America have not been an exception: used especially as idiophones ―but also as components of certain membranophones and aerophones―, the shells, obtained from different species of turtles and tortoises, have been part of the indigenous music since ancient times; in fact, archaeological evidence indicate their use among the Mexica, the different Maya-speaking societies and other peoples of Classical Mesoamerica.

Turtle shells in traditional Latin American music is a short introduction to a world of shaken and rubbed shells, from the forests of southern Chaco to the mountains of Central Mexico, including the Amazonia, the Orinoquia, the Caribbean coasts, and covering a wide range of cultures and musics.

It is a work registered in SafeCreative (see), free for download and distributed under a Creative Commons license by-nc-sa 4.0 International (see).

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