Beating On Africa’s Finest Drum


Drums are one of humankinds first instruments used for plenty of reasons, originally Macaque monkeys rhythmically beat on tress to make noises, we evolved that mode of sound and found better uses for it. Talking drums were used to convey message over large areas because they mimic the speech tones and patterns of humans. Drums were also used for artistic purposes, for entertainment in music, to spiritual and cultural uses as drums were mainly used in ceremonies drumming in the tune of a prayer. Drums also found applications the army as it set pace for marching and giving out quick orders on battle phases during war.

Every drum has their unique background of cultural heritage and story, one unique drum comes from the continent of Africa called Djembe. It’s a simple drum made where the skin is stretched over a pot and the notes are tuned finely by ropes. Its body is carved out of hardwood and the skin stretched over it is traditionally uncured animal raw hides, it’s really common for it to be made from goatskin. The small drums can weigh around 5kg and the medium ones gets heavier for around 9kg. it’s aver versatile drum, and it is loud that can be clearly heard over a large ensemble of music by various instruments, it’s purpose lies in telling an emotional, personal and meaningful story.

There few things to mainly consider when buying a Djembe, these mainly are, the wood used for construction, traditionally African Mahogany, lenge or iroko wood is used, if strong wood is used, the inside is carved thinner without any decrease in it’s durability. Of course, there are options from synthetic materials for the build.

The skin over the drum is still mainly goat head skin today, but you can still get fiberglass heads as an alternative.

Tuning any instrument is important, there are two types of ways Djembes come in tuning methods, first are Rope-Tuned Djembes, these are traditional and you tune it by a process called “Mail weave”, by weaving the rope in a diamond pattern around the drum, it is much easier than it looks and there are plenty of YouTube tutorials which would help you through the process.

Key-tuned djembes are the second kind, this is more in close to normal modern drums as you tune the instruments by tightening or loosening the lug bolts on the side of your drum.

Now comes the pricing, of course you can go buy the cheapest Djembe but that does not guarantee a good quality or durability, there are good decent ones costing around 99$, with major brand specializing in this drum such as, Toco, Remo, Latin Percussion, Mid-East Ethnic Percussion, Typhoon percussion. Of course, if you don’t mind few dents, or scratches or discolorations, you can opt to buy used ones.

Whichever you choose, you will definitely be able to connect deep within your soul, and discover the sound of music, and trance along in a rhythmic beat of the drums, while you feel the bass of the beat rumble against your palm, filling your world with music, truly enchanting from the heavens and time.