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Djun Djun or Dundun? Kalani Explains the Proper Name

Kalani Das, MT-BC with a little tip about the Dundun drums.

Many of you might be familiar with these beautiful instruments, barrel shaped drums. You can play them in a set, graduated sizes for deep, warm tones. A traditional set consists of 3 wooden drums with cowskin heads.

These are amazing instruments and are the driving force in the Melinke West African Susu drumming ensemble music, along with the djembe.

The Dundun can be played together in ballet style like in the video above. They can also be played individually along with the djembe. The dundun provide the identity to the rhythm so you have to look to the dundun to find out what the rhythm is. Is it Dundunba, is it Kuku, is it Macrou? What's the rhythm we're playing - well, we need to look to the Dundun

What I want to eplain to you is that the Dundun really have a few traditional names and those are Dundun, Dun Dun, and Dunun. Dundun is probably the most common. It is spelled D-u-n-d-u-n. It is my understanding based on what I have been told and taught by my teachers that that is the most common name.

There is another name that has been created in recent years and I am not sure how this happened but the name that was created is Djun Djun. Somewhere, somebody stuck a "J" into the word Dundun. So now we have this name Djun Djun, but know that that is not the traditional word and it doesn't appear anywhere in the traditional teachings or in the West African language.

One of the missions we have as teachers is to correct that and you can join us by not using the word Djun Djun to describe these drums and to let others know that they can call these drums Dundun or Dunun. It's simple.

Enjoy your Dundun and check out our other videos on these amazing African drums.


28th Oct 2014

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