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Are you ready to add a little samba spice to your performance? If so, you're looking at the right instruments to do it. Agogo bells are some of the most distinctive-sounding and looking instruments in a percussionist's collection, attaching easily to a rack or stand with a simple mount to make a unique expansion to your drum set. You can also hold them by hand for a world beat session, coloring the sound with their characteristic high-pitched clink. The agogo bells can be traced back to western Africa, where their ancient origins make them some of the oldest samba instruments still in use today. Agogo bells were often used in religious gatherings or to announce the arrival of an important dignitary. From there, they found their way into everyday music. For centuries, these bells' tinny overtones have been adding high-register flavor to percussion ensembles. The arrangement of the agogo, with two differently-sized bells positioned next to each other, offers some interesting options for playing.
The two distinct tones can be played with sticks, creating a sound reminiscent of the cowbell, or you can tap the bells together for a complementary metallic tone. Agogo bells make natural partners for conga drums, chiming in with higher overtones to accent the congas' mid-range sounds. In the past, rod iron was the material of choice for agogo bells. That's changed over the years, with today's instruments usually made of steel or chrome. Steel agogo bells deliver bellowing, rich tones like their iron ancestors but without the need to worry about corrosion. Chrome, on the other hand, will give you a tone that's crisp and precise. Agogo bells are a great addition to any percussion setup, and if you play samba, Latin or Brazilian music, they're a must-have. If you've never tried them before, these bells will surprise you with their versatility. Develop your skills enough and you can even make them stand on their own with just a bass drum to accompany them. No matter your style, you'll definitely find a way to make these bells part of your signature sound.
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