How is the djembe drum used in African cultures?

The djembe has been an integral part of spiritual and ritualistic life in West Africa for many generations. It was traditionally only played by griots, well respected high-class court musicians, who used it for story-telling: passing on important historical, religious and cultural information to future generations.

What was drumming used for in Africa?

African hand drums are played to communicate, celebrate, mourn and inspire. They’re played in times of peace and war, planting and harvesting, birth and death. Drums have been such a large part of Africans’ daily experience for so long that drumming pulses throughout their collective unconscious.

What are djembe drums used for?

What is the djembe drum used for? Musicians use the djembe as the instrument of dance at marriages, baptisms, funerals, circumcisions and excisions. They also play songs during the ploughing, sowing and harvest, during courtship rituals and even to settle disputes among the men of the village.

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What are 2 ways African cultures use drums?

In Africa, drums hold a deeper, symbolic and historical significance. They herald political and social events attending ceremonies of birth, death and marriage. They spark courtships, they herald home-coming and going and they accompany religious rites and rituals, calling up ancestral spirits.

What were djembes originally used for?

Highlighting the old culture of these newly sovereign states, djembe was used in national ballets, and drew emphasis to the djembe as a premier musical instrument and solo voice, rather than as an accompaniment to song and dance.

What are the main features of African drumming?

Features of these elements include:

  • polyrhythms are created by layering different rhythms together.
  • dynamics are changed depending on the force with which the drum is hit.
  • dynamics are not written down on a score – the leader signals changes in dynamics during the performance.

The djembe is the most well-known African drum around the world.

What are the 4 parts of the djembe?

The djembe is made up of 4 main parts:

  • a wooden shell.
  • rawhide skin.
  • metal rings.
  • ropes.

What is another name for djembe?

According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose.


Percussion instrument
Developed c. 1200 AD
Playing range
65–1000 Hz.
Related instruments

How much does a djembe drum cost?

Current African djembe market prices are $299 – $1,000 We do carry less expensive djembe as well.

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What do drums symbolize in Africa?

In much of Africa, drums are considered to symbolize and protect royalty, which often leads to their being housed in sacred dwellings. They can also be considered as a primitive telephone, since drums are also used to communicate with tribes that are miles and miles away.

What cultures use drums?

Use of drums across the world started to spread across Asia, reaching Japan, India, Middle East, Africa and southern Europe by 2nd century BC (most notably African drums that were introduced into ancient Greece and Rome).

What are the 5 kinds of African music?

14 African musical styles for you to explore

  • Soukous. Soukous is a form of music that stems from rumba. …
  • JuJu. Juju style originally came from Nigeria, a country which has produced many styles that managed to spread all around West African countries, including juju, jaija, fuji, ozzidi, palm-wine, highlife and afrobeat. …
  • Mbalax. …
  • Zilin. …
  • Gnawa. …
  • Mbaqanga. …
  • Chimurenga. …
  • Majika.


What are the top 10 benefits of playing an African drum?

The Top 10 Benefits of Learning Drums [Infographic]

  • Reduce Stress. Playing drums can relieve frustration, disappointment, and stress. …
  • Increase Academic Performance. …
  • Boost Brain Power. …
  • Develop Confidence. …
  • Improve Communication Skills. …
  • Be a Global Citizen. …
  • Make New Friends. …
  • Play Cool Instruments.


What are the names of the djembe strokes?

The tone and slap are played on the edge of the drumhead, the bass in the centre.

The tone, slap and bass.

French English
closed tonique, tonic, ton, fermé closed, tone (also open, cf. conga)
open claque, claqué, ouvert, clac open, slap
bass basse bass
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What are the three main djembe playing techniques?

There are three ways to strike the head in djembe drumming: slap, bass, and tone.

  • Slap: Slap sounds make the highest-pitched sounds on the djembe. Hit the edge of the drum with a slight curvature in your fingers.
  • Bass: Bass sounds are the lowest pitches on the djembe. …
  • Tone: Tone sounds are medium-pitched.
Across the Sahara