Art and Music in Chad
|The main instruments of traditional music
in Chad are the drum (tam-tam), African maracas, the balafon (a large
xylophone with wood bars that are tapped), the lute and the harp.
There is a traditional flute similar to the ocarina also. So there is
a wide variety of musical instruments in Chad. The most popular places
for playing these instruments are the churches, the millet beer bars,
and at traditional dance nights in the villages.
How would you like to hear a lute playing, as recorded in Chad for real?? If so, then go to this website and click on the lute. To listen to a variety of Chadian artists, go to ialtchad's music page, and click on the speaker links.
Most of the art stems from a practical desire to earn money from the tourist who come to Chad, and from the local economy. Weavers make baskets, mats fans and other useful items from straw. To decorate them, the artisan will use dyes made of the flowers and roots of local plants. The most common colours on woven art in Chad are violet and green.
Potters make clay pots which can keep water cool in the hottest weather because of the water in it seeps out through the microscopic pores of the clay, as well as cups and other useful items. The potter usually does not use a wheel, but rather forms the wet clay into the shape required with their fingers, adding what is needed gradually as they go. To fire the pots after they are glazed, the potter gently places them in a circle, along with kindling wood and straw. Then the kindling and straw is set ablaze and allowed to burn very, very hot. When the fire is at its hottest, the potter will cover the fire and pottery with sand. Then the fire is left overnight, at which time the potter is ready to bring his or her wares to the market for sale.
Besides pottery and basketwork, local artisans paint paintings, create stationery and greeting cards. One of my favourite Chadian artists uses old x-ray paper to make stencils for some very lovely stationery (see right). A development organization in Abéché has become well known for their cross stitched patterns of Chad and animals familiar to all Chadians. Of special note is the tightness with which the stitches are placed on these pictures. The profit from the sale of these cross stitch pictures goes to the women without husbands who do the work as a way to provide for their families.