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What is the djembe and African Drumming?
African drumming revolves round a goblet-shaped hand drum called the djembe, and up to three bass drums that are played with sticks and, in some areas, with metal beaters and bells.The collective term for the bass drums is ‘dunduns’. Although traditionally each dundun is played by a different person, it is possible to fix three together and play them vertically with two sticks.The drums are traditionally used in many different ways: to send messages, ceremonies and for healing. Rhythm is highly important to life in rural Africa, it breaks up the mundane tasks of the day such as pounding grain and turns it into a rhythmic adventure. All stages of life are accompanied by drumming in certain areas of West Africa; births, coming of age, planting, harvesting, marriage…. all have their specific rhythms.
BASIRU (BASS) NJAI from Gambiasays that
“Drums are instrument that when you hear them you feel something inside your body, because they have this supper natural power, which goes into the body and touches our soul and wake our spirit. You see a drum beat, is the same as heartbeat they have the same pulse, so that way when we hear the spirit of the drum sound. We response immediately, and we responded in different ways.There are some people when they hear sound of a drums, they cannot stand still, their whole body starts to move and in a few seconds they begging to dance to the drum. Because the person spirit and the drummer and drum spirit comes together as one spirit, and that person is also have a very high spiritual communication with drum and the drummer, which any drummer or musician will love to when he/she is giving a concert to see people dancing to your music, it is lick the person is telling the drummer that he/she understand the spiritual drum language. So those kinds of people know how to use their spirit, because drums rhythm is an international language, in any culture or traditions they have drum rhythm in their society.” Read more here
One of the best-known African drums is theWest African djembe(pronounced zhem-bay). It is shaped like a large goblet and played with bare hands. The body is carved from a hollowed trunk and is covered in goat skin. It is a very popular hand drum, which anyone can play. You don’t have to be a professional drummer to get a rhythm out of the drum and any sound that comes out of the drum is great. In InRhythm’s classes you learn how to use your hands, how to hold the drum and how to concentrate in order to learn a rhythm. There are three ways to use your hands when you are playing a drum. When you hit the drum with your whole hand in the middle of the drum you get the bass sound, with your fingers from palm to tip you get the rhythm sound and when you hit the drum with only your open grip fingertips which gives you the highest sound from the drum.
“According to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying, “Anke dje” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose.The Malinke people say that a skilled drummer is one who “can make the djembe talk”, meaning that the player can tell an emotional story.” For more interesting facts about African Drumming click here.
Source: 10 Interesting Facts about African Drumming & BASIRU (BASS) NJAI - http://www.10interestingfacts.com/facts-about-african-drumming.html
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