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West African Drums

29th Oct 2014

With the excitement that surrounds drumming, it is no wonder that there are hundreds of drums to choose from. Hand drums are deeply rooted in the history of cultures across the world. Cuba has its Bongos, the Middle East and Europe each claim the Doumbek, and frame drums are a part of Native American, Celtic, South American and many other cultures. Many popular hand drums today are easily attributed to West Africa and its tribes, as well, tying all of these cultures together through the magic of music and rhythm.

Two of the most well-known hand drums from West Africa are the Djembe and Djun Djun (Dun Dun) drums. Each type of drum has its own role or voice within a drum ensemble, complimenting and enriching the overall rhythm created. The Djembe may be considered the most visible drum played in drum circles or world drum ensembles. Considered a lead drum, the Djembe is versatile in the tones it creates, as well as how it is played. It is the style, sound and ease of playing that makes this drum one of the most beloved West African Drums.

Africa Guinea Djembe

Mali Djembe

West African Guinea Djembe West African Mali Djembe Senegal Djun Djun Set

Djun Djun drums come in three sizes, each designed to carve its own voice in the music being played. These drums differ from Djembe drums in both their style and method of play, using sticks rather than the hands to keep the beat moving. The largest Djun Djun, the Dundumba, has a low, bass sound that compliments the versatile, mid-sized Sangban. The Sangban is thought to further enhance the tone of the Djembe when played in an ensemble. The smallest Djun Djun, the Kenkeni, has the highest tone that is perfect for bell-like accents to the overall rhythm played.

West African Drums are some of the most versatile and unique hand percussion instruments available to professional and hobbyist drummers alike. These drums symbolize the splendor of West African culture, bringing a solid, unforgettable sound to drum circles, studios and stage and a love of music and rhythm to those who play. From their roots in the tribal lands of West Africa to their presence in all types of music today, West African drums make playing an instrument an exercise in the pure beauty of sound.