This Jamaican Instrument brought home to me? What is it called?

by Terry Jean Nichols
(Parkersburg, WV USA)

Riddle me this, and riddle me that... What has a wooden ball with beads or stones in it on a stick?

Actually, I am just kidding :-) It is not a riddle but a real question about a Jamaican instrument. I think I am going to need your help on this.

Here's the question from Terry in the USA (with my answer below)...

I have an instrument brought home to me that I would like to know it's name. It is a wooden ball with beads or stones in it on a stick. A large nut has drilled holes and fits over the lower part or the stick.

A string is attached to the stick and ends with a small stick of wood with the string wrapped around it.

You pull the string out with the small stick and the ball turns one way and then the other way. Does this instrument have a name?

Terry Jean Nichols, Retired Music Teacher

ANSWER: by Wellesley

Hey Terry Jean,

My apologies for the delayed response, I've been busy soliciting feedback and perspectives on this instrument.

I even reached out to Jamaica National Library, but to no avail.

Unfortunately, none of my contacts is able to relate or find any information on this instrument.

Are you sure the person who gave it to you took it from Jamaica? If so, how long ago?

You know what would be even better tough Terry?... you sending us a photograph of it!

Can you do that?

You can email to me directly at wellesley (at)

That way we'll be able to better relate to it and see if it is a modification of something that we used (historically) or what we are still using now.

I'm also posting your inquiry as a live page on my website so I can solicit feedback and responses on this instrument from my readers as well. You can watch the comments here.

By the way, have you taken a look at our article on traditional Jamaican instruments here?

If not, do so now. Not only does it outlines some of our treasured traditional instruments, it might also help you to pu this one into some perspective... but still, if you can send me a photo that would be awesome!


P.S. We've answered HUNDREDS of questions, click here and here to get even more answers.

Comments for This Jamaican Instrument brought home to me? What is it called?

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Sep 15, 2019
What Is It Called
by: Glenn

That sounds like a hybrid of toy called a veevaa (a type of yo-yo), and a noise maker/musical instrument called a shaker.

Sep 15, 2019
by: Ann Marie

A picture of the instrument would be great so that I could show it to my grandmother and see if she could identity it.

Sep 09, 2019
Can you relate to this instrument Terry is asking about?
by: Wellesley

If so, please share your comments here.

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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.  

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