Original Yoruba Bata drum set of 3 from Nigeria
Bata are double-headed drums shaped like an hourglass with one cone larger than the other. Bata are used primarily for religious or semi-religious purposes for the native culture from the land of Yoruba, located in south west Nigeria, as well as by worshippers of Santería in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in the United States
The Bata drum has different parts which include; “Igi Ilu”(wooden frame work), leather, “Egi ilu”(thick brooms for support), “Osan”(wire work), “Iro”(black substance placed on the drum surface), “Bulala”(drumstick made from leather), and cowries.
A set of batá consists of three drums of different sizes. The drums are similar in shape to an hourglass and each drum has two different sized heads. The batá are played sitting down with the drum placed horizontally on the knees. This allows the drummer to play with both hands.
The Iyá (“Mother”) is the largest drum and leads the group, playing long, complex patterns with many variations and initiates conversations with the other two drums. Iyá are often adorned with a garland of bells and bronze caps called “Chaworo” which enrich the vibrations and the timbre when the drummer plays the instrument.The Itótele is the middle-sized drum, playing long, but less complex patterns with some variations as well as answering and occasionally initiating conversations.
The Okónkolo is the smallest of the three playing short, simple patterns with occasional conversations and variations.