Atsimevu is the lead drum. It is a narrow drum
approximately four feet tall and its head is about eleven inches
in diameter. Some atsimevuwo (plural) are considerably taller
and have a much wider midsection. Atsimevu is leaned against
a stand to let the sound escape through its open bottom as well
as make it easier to play. The name for this stand in Ewe is
vudetsi. Translated literally vudetsi means drum stand. The function
of the lead drum during Atsia in particular and Ewe music in
general is to lead the rest of the group through a performance.
The person who plays atsimevu utilizes a variety of strokes to
produce a tonal and rhythmic language which imitates speech.
With this language the lead drummer is able to communicate with
the rest of the ensemble. During Atsiã drumming, atsimevu
is played some of the time with two sticks and some of the time
with a stick and a hand. The lead drummer will set the tempo
for Atsia by playing the gankogui pattern on the side (shell)
of atsimeu with a stick. The gankogui player and the axatse players
will know that this is their que to begin. After a good tempo
is established the lead drummer will call the supporting drummers
in by playing the opening call which is demonstrated above.