The gyil (dʒile or dʒil) is a pentatonic xylophone from the northwest of Ghana. It is the primary musical instrument played by the Dagara, Lobi and Birifor people.
The gyil is usually played in pairs, accompanied by a calabash gourd drum called a kuor. It can also be played by one person with the drum and the stick part as accompaniment, or by a soloist. Gyil duets are the traditional music of Dagara funerals. It is made with 14-18 wooden keys of an African hardwood called liga attached to a wooden frame, below which hang calabash gourds. Spider web silk covers small holes in the gourds to produce a buzzing sound and antelope sinew and leather are used for the fastenings. The instrument is played with rubber-headed wooden mallets. The buzzing sound and the polyrhythmic nature of the traditional music are distinguishing characteristics of this balaphonic music. In its traditional setting, the gyil is used for everything in life; from weddings and funerals to dances and everyday recreation.
Ethnomusicology, is defined as the study of the social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts. I have dedicated my life to this art form and to grasping the transformative power of music.