African drums history

African Drummer. People all over the world use drums for music without understanding their rich history. African drums are more than musical instruments. Africans use drums for religious ceremonies, celebrations, and communication. They provide the musical backdrop for tribal dances, along with modern songs all over the world. To understand the cultural importance of the African drumyou must know the history. African drumming represents hope, despair, and perseverance in the face of the attempted cultural destruction of millions of people.

Scholars believe that widespread use of drums in Africa began around AD.

african drums history

This is an estimate of course, as spoken word history dominated Africa in the pre-colonial era. Some Africans kept written records, but this was rare. Modern belief is that Africans used drums to communicate with Gods and other tribes. The sound waves produced by traditional African drums are discernible for miles.

african drums history

This allowed information of impending armies or massive storms to spread quickly. Marriages, births, and deaths were also announced using drums.

Once empires began to form, particularly in Western Africa, information from the central government passed from village to village using drums. One such empire, the Mali, used drums to transfer information along the Niger river.

Timbuktuone of the richest cities in Africa during pre-colonial times, was the financial and cultural hub for Western Africa.

Not only were drums used for communication, they also served diplomatic purposes. Neighboring empires and smaller communities sent their best drummers to gain favor with the Malese people.

In the 15th Century, when Timbuktu fell to the Songhai Empire, there were reports of African drumming for hundreds of miles. There also would have been thousands of people mourning lost family members. After the invasion, migrations began.Posted by tour guide on Nov 20, in African 0 comments. Drums play an important role in every aspect of African life, including the physical, emotional and spiritual.

african drums history

In Western Culture the notion of drumming is virtually constantly linked along with entertainment or simply to add towards the musical excellent of a song. In Africa, drums hold a deeper symbolic as well as traditional which means. African hand drums are played to communicate, celebrate, mourn and inspire. Drums are inseparable from the African culture — they help define it. So much so, that when the slave trade scattered Africans throughout the world, the love of drumming they took with them irrevocably altered the world of music.

Drums are practically constantly an complement for any manner of ceremony — births, deaths, marriages — with each other along with a ritual dance. The vicious sound of a lot of drums pounding with each other is also a required installment to stir up feelings inside a battle or war to inspire excitement as well as passion. Drums are a particular type of communication which can resound emotions of celebration, moods of sadness, or grand entrances of African kings as well as queens. The Djembe drum is probably the a lot of influential as well as standard of all of the African drums, initially.

It dates back to A. The Djembe was initially designed like a sacred drum to become utilized in healing ceremonies, rites of passage, ancestral worship, warrior rituals, and also social dances. The drum rhythm of the djembe is carried out inside the evening for a lot of celebrations, specially for the duration of full moon, spring, summer season as well as winter harvesting time, weddings, baptisms, honoring of mothers, quickly soon after Ramadaan the month of rapidly for all Muslims or numerous other celebrations.

The Djembe drum is produced in varying sizes, as well as even young children in Africa find out the Djembe in a young age along with further modest Djembe drums produced specially for them. Udu drums are also amazing. Like many African hand drums, the udu has a rich cultural history. Starting out as a clay water jug that eventually had a hole added to the side, the udu is believed to have been created by the women of the Igbo people of Nigeria.

In the Igbo language, udu means pottery, or vessel. The player holds a long, thin stick galan in one hand for producing the high notes and also strikes the skin with the empty hand. The shell is an elongated cylinder with tapered ends like a conga though generally smaller.

In considerably of Africa, selected drums are believed to symbolize as well as defend royalty as well as are typically housed in sacred dwellings.It is widely believed that the Djembe pronounced JEM — Beh has its origins with the "numu", a social class of professional blacksmiths from the Mandinka Maninke people of western Africa in around AD.

It is believed that they were the first to carve this wooden instrument.

The Definitive Guide To African Drums

The origin story of the djembe is no different, there are multiple stories of how this popular drum came to be. Her husband happened to be in the vicinity with a goat skin, which they stretched over the hole in the mortar to make the very first djembe.

According to Madinka legend, the djembe is said to have come about through a genie known as a djinn who gifted the tree to a Madinka blacksmith and taught him how to carve it into a djembe. The djembe is not a griot instrument and there are no restrictions on who may become a djembefola djembe player.

In daily life, various events are accompanied by unique songs and dances, usually sung by the griot, accompanied by drummers, singers and dancers. Songs tell of great leaders, like King Sundiata, or praise certain professions, like the cobblers or hunters. The djembe is primarily the instrument of dance used at marriages, baptisms, funerals, circumcisions and excisions.

Songs are also played during the ploughing, sowing and the harvest, used for courtship rituals and even to settle disputes among the men of the village.

Oldest African drumming footage ever

In a typical ensemble, two djembes and a dundun player accompany the griot. Women sing and clap hands, while moving in and out of the circle, showing off their skill as dancers. The djembe master or soloist leads the pace of the dance, increasing the tempo when good dancers enter the circle. A single song is played for most occasions, usually lasting a few hours. Tim Orgias InRhythm. Copyright www. Welcome to the InRhythm Blog.

Subscribe to blog. Unsubscribe from blog. Sign In. If you are new here, Register. Remember me. Forget Username Reset Password. All Blogs. The History of African Drumming: Origins. Drumming and Meditation.

Comments No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment.Rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan African music is characterized by a "strong rhythmic interest" that exhibits common characteristics in all regions of this vast territory, so that Arthur Morris Jones — has described the many local approaches as constituting one main system.

West African rhythmic techniques carried over the Atlantic were fundamental ingredients of Afro-American musical genres such as blues, jazz, reggae and hip hop, and were thereby of immense importance in 20th century popular music. African music relies heavily on fast-paced, upbeat rhythmic drum playing found all over the continent, though some styles, such as the Township music of South Africa do not make much use of the drum and nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums.

Elsewhere the drum is the sign of life: its beat is the heartbeat of the community. Well known African drums include the Djembe and the Talking drum. It is the interplay of several elements, inseparable and equally essential, that produces the "varying rhythmic densities or motions" of cross-rhythmic texture.

Cross-rhythm is the basis for much of the music of the Niger—Congo peoples, speakers of the largest language family in Africa.

History of African Rhythms

For example it "pervades southern Ewe music". Ewe drumming refers to the drumming ensembles of the Ewe people of Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The sophisticated cross rhythms and polyrhythms in Ewe drumming are similar to those in Afro-Caribbean music and late jazz.

Ewe drumming is very diverse and is played in many slightly different ways. The Fon people of Benin are another example of this variation. They construct their villages, towns, and cities on water, and because of this, they do not play the same upright drums other Ewe play.

Site powered by Weebly. Managed by HostGator. National Museum of Ghana.The djembe has a great cultural heritage in Africa. Although similar in cultural use and significance to many countries and tribes on the African continent, it has minute but significant differences. The Djembe of the Mandinka people, and its origins dates back to the great Mali Empire of the 12th century.

The djembe is also known as djenbe, jembe, sanbanyi, jymbe or yembe. It is made from a single piece of wood and carved into the shape of a goblet that is hollow throughout with a skin covering over the top. The drum is played with bare hands.

african drums history

Of all the African drums, the djembe has become extremely sought after in the w estern world and is regarded as the most popular. This drum has inspired master drum makers now found all over the world.

The djembe below is made in Mali. In and around the Kayes region. The drum rhythm or Diansa is performed in the evening for most celebrations, example during full moon, spring, summer and winter harvesting time, weddings, baptism, honoring of mothers, immediately after Ramadaan the month of fast for all Muslim brothers and sisters or other celebrations. Dancing is the most popular form of entertainment and various rhythms and beats are played on the djembe.

Similar type celebrations and cultural rhythms are applicable to Senegal as well as other regions of West Africa.

The History of African Drumming: Origins

Before a new skin is placed over the drum head the dried skin is immersed in water until soft and pliable. The soft skin is then placed over the top along with two steel rings, one ring fits tightly around the drum head and the other around the bottom of the head with vertical string crossing from top to bottom around the rings.

The rope is then gently tightened. Once the skin is completely dried the ropes are further tightened with a rope puller.

Various patterns or weaves are then made with the rope on the drum. African goatskins from Mali are the most suitable for covering the playing surface of a djembe, due to central Africa having the perfect climatic and grazing conditions for the goats.

The West African goat skin are also thicker and tougher and impacts greatly on the quality of the sound. The skins therefore undoubtedly, provide the very best sound. Skins used from other countries have poor sound quality and tends to break more easily.

African drummers from the Wolof tribe, natives of Senegal. They use a skin drum and it is played with one hand and a thin stick. The drum is placed on the ground or strapped to the side of the body and is played whilst the fans or audience, mainly single women of marital age, do the "Sabar".Awesome blog. Thanks for sharing. Drums are important part of music Goblet Doumbek Drum - Arabinstruments. The History Of African Drums. Music has always been an important factor in most of our lives.

The drum is considered to be the most important musical instrument in Africa. The history of African drumming dates all the way back to the early 13th century.

The most famous of the African drum is the djembe. The djembe is shaped like a large goblet and is designed to be played with your bare hands.

This drum was used during many celebrations throughout history and time. A musician who was the founder of a traveling musical group began using the djembe wherever he went. This allowed many other parts of the world to hear and see this amazing instrument. Once the world heard the sounds of the djembe, they were indeed hooked. To this date the djembe is the most well-known of the African drums.

This drum earned its name to the pitch that it emits. The pitch can be altered so that the drum does indeed sound like it is mimicking you.

This drum is still widely used today throughout the world but more so in the regions of West Africa. The talking drum, known to some as the dundun, was also used in many celebrations. African drums have definitely had an impact on music. African drums are a unique drum that has its place in music history.

Source: New World Drumming. Unknown March 15, at AM. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom.Traditionally, the drum was the heartbeat, the soul of most African communities.

Drums have been an intrinsic part of African life for centuries and for countless generations, an ancient instrument used to celebrate all the aspects of life. In Western culture drumming is, most often, about entertainment. 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. They are used as an alarm or a call to arms stirring up emotions for battle and war. They can also inspire passion and excitement and even cause trances, a momentary loss of consciousness to either the drummer or the listener. They symbolize and protect royalty and are often housed in sacred dwellings.

They are protected during battle. On the other side, drums are about communication and making music, two essential characteristics of community life. African music is a total art form closely integrated with dance, gesture and dramatization. Drums are the music instrument that African music relies heavily upon to create the fast-paced, upbeat, rhythmic beat that signifies most African music.

The drums can be both musical instruments and works of art, sculptural forms that are often decorated in a resplendent manner suited to their ceremonial function. They can also be everyday objects with simple but monumental form. The shell is, most often, constructed from wood. The sound is generated by striking the drumhead with hands, a stick, a rubber mallet or even the bones of the deceased.

The surface can also be rubbed to create soft swishing sounds. Sometimes the drums can have rattling metal jingles attached to the outside or seeds and beads placed inside to create extra kinds of noises. They can be made from wood, metal, earthenware or gourds. Their form can be tubular, hourglass, circular or bowl, kettle, goblet or barrel shaped.

They can be round, square, hexagonal, octagonal or placed within a frame. In size they can be tall or diminutive like the tom tom. In general, the bigger the drum the lower the note and the more tension in the head, the higher the note. Wide drums add the bass sounds. They can have handles or straps and be held under the armpits. They can be rested on a wooden support and they can have feet or pedestals standing on their own, being carried on backs or held between or on the knees.

They can be played singly, or in pairs, or be part of a large group drum ensemble with graded tones and pitches. The membrane of the drum is most often constructed from the skin of an antelope, goat, sheep or cow and less frequently from zebra, wildebeest or reptiles like crocodiles and monitor lizards. The skin is dried out in the sun and the hair shaved.