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Rainstick question was RE: RAINFOREST


From: Kimberly Herbert (kimberly_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 07:30:19 PST

Just out of curiosity is the term Rainstick used as a catchall term for a
long rattle type rhythm instrument? The reason I ask, is the information
I've used for a class on rainsticks is from the southwest US. The first step
in making these rainsticks was drying cactus, hollowing it out, and saving
the seeds. Then the thorns would be pushed into the center. One end sealed
the seeds, sand, and gravel were added back into the center and the other
end sealed. The rainsticks were then used as instruments and especially in
rain ceremonies.

For what is now the southwest US this makes sense it is an arid region. Why
would the people of rainforest regions pray for more rain? Obviously they
did not use cactus (neither did the people of Africa because cactus is
native only to the Americas). What special place did these rhythm
instruments play in the culture of the native people, and what materials
were traditionally used?

Kimberly Herbert (
CAM Administrator
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts/Children's Art Museum

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 8:26 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk

Have you used the Great Kapok Tree as a literature reference? Great book. We
also made rainsticks decorated with "Animal Skins" paper that had been
"distressed" by soaking and crumpling. The first graders used them to
to Ladysmith Black Mambanzo's (African Musicians) CD for chidren. Great Fun!