Atsimevu is the lead drum. It is a narrow drum approximately four feet tall and its head is about eleven inches in diameter. Some atsimevuwo (plural) are considerably taller and have a much wider midsection. Atsimevu is leaned against a stand to let the sound escape through its open bottom as well as make it easier to play. The name for this stand in Ewe is vudetsi. Translated literally vudetsi means drum stand. The function of the lead drum during Atsia in particular and Ewe music in general is to lead the rest of the group through a performance. The person who plays atsimevu utilizes a variety of strokes to produce a tonal and rhythmic language which imitates speech. With this language the lead drummer is able to communicate with the rest of the ensemble. During Atsiã drumming, atsimevu is played some of the time with two sticks and some of the time with a stick and a hand. The lead drummer will set the tempo for Atsia by playing the gankogui pattern on the side (shell) of atsimeu with a stick. The gankogui player and the axatse players will know that this is their que to begin. After a good tempo is established the lead drummer will call the supporting drummers in by playing the opening call which is demonstrated above.




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