New record with Alfred Kpebsaane

I am proud to announce the recording of the first full length record with my mentor of 12 years, Ghanaian xylophone master Alfred Kpebsaane is in the works. And it is super hypnotic.


About the Gyil

The Ghanaian xylophone is simply called the gyil (pronounced "JEEL"). Bewaa is a tradition of social dance songs music for Ghanaian xylophone. Traditional Ghanaian xylophone is performed with two xylophonists and a percussionist, often accompanied by a dance and drum troupe during social gatherings, dances, and concert performances. The music is used in traditional ceremonies in villages and communities in northern Ghana. The funeral repertoire is meant to honor the dead. 

I have listed the tuning of the notes of the traditional non-western gyil. Depending on the area, community, and the master xylophonist, the gyil has slightly different tunings. My gyil is tuned to Bernard Woma's traditional tuning, made by Tijian Lobi, at the Dagara Music Center in Medie, Ghana.




The gyil has 14 wooden bars woven together by string, twine, and goat skin. Each bar is smoked for three weeks (to prevent change in intonation) and amplified by prepared gourds that are carefully tuned to each bar. Each gourd has three holes that are covered with spider sac paper, giving the instrument its buzzy timbre and overtones. My ear has become accustomed to playing with and writing for ensembles mixing western instruments with gyil since 2006.


C#  +40 cents
B     +20 cents
A     -23 cents
F#   +35/40 cents
E     +15 cents
D     0 cents
C     -35 cents
A     +20-23 cents
G     -15/20 cents
E     +50 cents
D#   -2 cents
B     +25 cents
A     -2 cents
G     -40 cents