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Alounloun is a Beninese musical instrument, used to play music called Adjogan. It is a stick with metallic rings attached which jingle in time with the beating of the stick. The alounloun is said to descend from the staff of office of King Te-Agdanlin.[1] The Alounloun was established for the royal court in the Porto-Novo area and was initially intended to be a symbol of the king's power. It become a tradition to use the Alounloun to honor eminent officials in the royal court.[2] An Alounloun is on display at the Royal Palace Museum in Porto-Novo.[2]

Historical background[edit]

In the beginning, the alounloun was a stick symbolizing the power of the king of Allada (a kingdom in southern Benin). Te-Agdanlin, founder of the kingdom of Porto-Novo, inherited it from his father King De-Kopkon when he died. He took the alounloun with him during the migration towards south-eastern Benin where he created the kingdom of Hogbonou (Porto-Novo). When he in turn died, and then from one generation to another, the alounloun underwent various transformations depending on the taste and aspirations of each king. Roman Catholic evangelism and the Vatican II Council led Father Francis Aupiais, parish priest of Porto-Novo in the 1930s, to inaugurate an Epiphany procession through the city. The alounloun was played on this occasion in honour of Jesus, king of kings and the Wise Men.[3]


The Alounloun is an Idiophone. An idiophone is an instrument that makes sound based on the vibrations caused by making contact with the instrument.[4][5][6] Alounloun uses to play the music [7] adjogan.It is about one meter long, with a spindle of copper - clad iron with rings that slide up and down to produce the harmony of its music.It is a musical instrument that belongs to the organological family of idiophones. It is an instrument of the royal court of the old kingdom of Hogbonou (now Porto-Novo). The stamping stick was inherited by King Te-Agdanlin from his father Kokpon when the dispute between the two brothers created the kingdoms of Allada and Dahomey respectively in the early 17th century. A descendant of Te-Agdanlin, De-Gbeyon, transformed the stick into a musical instrument during his reign (1765-1775). From that time on, it has been used to accompany the songs praising the king. The instrument is played only by women. The alounloun is a finely worked iron bar covered in copper with rings that manually slide up and down the stick to produce music. It has a handle in the shape of a bird with a coiled crested neck as well as a spindle and a pad.


  1. ^ "The Alounloun (Stamping Stick)". Virtual Museum. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Kraus, Erika; Reid, Felicie (26 January 2010). Benin (Other Places Travel Guide). Other Places Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-9822619-1-0. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Stay In Tune:Idiophone from Benin". Virtual Museum. Retrieved 26 Sep 2015. 
  4. ^ "idiophone | any of a class of musical instruments (such as a bell or gong) whose sound is generated by striking, rubbing, plucking, or blowing the material of the instrument itself not under any special tension compare aerophone chordophone electrophone lamellophone membranophone". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  5. ^ "idiophone | musical instrument". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Staying in Tune: Idiophones | The Alounloun". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  7. ^ "ajogan". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2015-09-27.