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Ogele (Ogene) - Double Bells

Ogele or Ogene is an instrument of the struck idiophone class and is made of iron by specialist blacksmiths. The bell has a flattish, conical shape, and is hollow inside. The sound itself comes from the vibration of the iron body when struck, which is made to resound by the hollow inside of the bell.

Ogele is the most important piece of metal instrument in Igbo music. Ogele was originally made from bronze, but are now made from common metals in recent years. Modern Ogele made from metal is lighter compared to earlier designs from bronze. Ogele is shaped like elongated bell that comes in single or double. It is hit by a stick

The larger double gong is used to applaud or praise people when the musician is on stage at social engagements. These gongs also act as time keepers, accompaniment with other drums in masquerade dances and by herbalist ceremonies in eastern Nigeria. Some western percussionists favor Ogele for Afro-Latin flavored cha-cha-cha or mambo bell sounds that they describe in Spanglish as “muy autentico yet very easy to play.”


Earlier times, information were sent across the town by Ogele. The town criers went from village to village and town to town beating the the Ogele to get attention and delivering messages at the same time. Sound of Ogele early in the morning usually means that there is something very important which requires the attention of the whole community summoning men and women, young and old to assemble in the towns central square for various announcements.

The most important use of Ogele is in Igbo traditional dances. It comes in various sizes, gives the dancers cue on when to change dance steps and tempo. It is common all over Igboland to see masquerades and various dancing group dance to the tune of Ogele sound. Sometimes it is used inconjuction with other musical instruments. Ogele sound enriches dances, songs, religious and secular ceremonies throughout Igboland.