The Djembe is a drum that has a rich history and importance towards Ghanaian and African culture.
But first of all, let us look at the Djembe through its physical attributes. The Djembe is a drum that is played with the bare hands. It is rope-tuned and skin covered. It has a shell (or a body if you will) that is carved out of hardwood and a drumhead that is made out of untreated goatskin. However, Djembe drums are not limited to these materials upon manufacturing. They can be made from a wide array of other ingredients for performers to play different sounds according to their liking.
The origin of the Djembe can be traced back to the Numu. They are associated with the Mandika people, specifically their class of blacksmiths. The Djembe drum’s wide dispersion throughout Africa may be the cause of the many migrations of the Numu. As such, the drums’ popularity became known throughout the continent.
Although the origins of these bongo drums came from the Numu, there are no restrictions in using it. Such cause calls for rejoice as the Djembe drums are different from many, more restricted instruments that can be found in Africa. Therefore, just about anyone who is interested in playing it can do so.
Furthermore, due to the Numu’s many migrations, the Djembe African drums can now be played by Ghanaian people.
The Djembe drums are an integral part of Ghanaian, and most importantly the entire African culture. Playing with the African percussion instrument has a great purpose to affairs, festivals, and ceremonies. The rhythms created by the instrument are only to be played at a certain time and only for certain reasons.
For example, playing the African bongo drums can play a major role when a person rises into the age of adulthood. It can also take on a significant part on marriages or when there is an event wherein there is a need to honour the deeds by professions or other groups of people.
Unlike instruments that are played in an orchestra or in a band, playing the Djembe drums is not performed in front of an audience but with the participation of the entire village. This allows the people to participate in the event or the ceremony.
Now even if it would seem that the same rhythm can be played for hours and hours on end, there will be other interactions that take place along with the drumming. For instance, dancers from the village can challenge Djembe drummers to mark and keep up with their dance moves. There are even ballets and ensembles wherein these drums play a major role for the performance.
The Djembe drums are a very cultural musical instrument that is not limited to a small number of African locales. These drums can now also be seen in Western continents where they pay tribute to our African brothers and take part of their own ceremonies and affairs with the use of these African bongo drums.
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