The musical ensemble consists of: alfaia (a large wooden rope-tuned drum), gonguê (a metal cowbell), tarol (a shallow snare drum), xequerê or agbê (a gourd shaker enveloped in a net of beads), and ganzá or mineiro (a metal cylindrical shaker filled with metal shot or small dried seeds).




It is a wooden drum made of animal skin tensioned or loosened through ropes placed alongside the body of the instrument. Their construction is similar to 19th-century U.S. and European military or field drums, bombos, and other Latin American wooden bass drums. Traditionally strapped over the shoulder, alfaias are played with a distinctive technique, and players hold the weak-hand drumstick inverted to get the proper attack on the head.The alfaia has a characteristic deep, heavy sound, different from other bass drums such as the surdo or kick-drum, and they are used mainly in the northeastern folk rhythms and dances of Brazil, such as Maracatu, Ciranda and Coco-de-roda.


Gonguê and Cowbell


In Sol Samba, we play on two kinds of bells – a regular Cowbell and a Gonguê. Gonguê is a type of Cowbell consisting of a big, flat iron bell, measuring from 20 to 30 cm, and a cable that serves as a support. Both bells are usually played with a metal or wooden drumstick, and are typically used in north-eastern Brazilian music, accentuating the beats and doing rhythmic phrases, generally formed by off-beats and syncopated patterns. Due to its size, the Gonguê has a loud and strident sound, more clangorous than other types of cowbells. To avoid fatigue, players normally support it against the body.








Tarol or Caixa-de-Guerra (“war-snare”) are a type of shallow snare drums that are used in orchestras, concert bands, marching bands, parades, drumlines, drum corps, and more. It is a versatile and expressive percussion instrument; its sensitivity allows it to respond audibly to the softest strokes, facilitates playing of complex rhythmic patterns and engaging solos at moderate amplitudes, and its high dynamic range allows the player to produce powerful accents.




Xequerê or Agbê


The shekere is an instrument from West Africa consisting of a dried gourd with beads woven into a net covering the gourd. Similar versions of the instrument are found throughout the continent of Africa, as well as in Cuba (chekeré) and Brazil (xequerê).




Ganzá or Mineiro


A Brazilian rattle used as a percussion instrument, especially in samba and Maracatu music. The ganzá is cylindrically shaped, and can be either a hand-woven basket or a metal canister which is filled with beads, metal balls, pebbles, or other similar items. They are usually used to play a rhythm underneath the rest of the band.


Source: Wikipedia