The Udu possesses a distinct subtle bass tonal quality, creating liquidy water droplet sound. The clay construction is based upon centuries-old African traditions whereby women would play a water jug with an additional hole at ceremonies. The name "Udu" has been derived from the Nigerian Ibo language, meaning "pottery".
An Udu Drum is played by in a seated position with the drum on the player's lap. The performer hits any part of the drum with the palm of the hand or the finger tips. The textured surface provides additional tonal variations by creating rubbing sounds.