African Drumming

The djembe
African drumming gets my heart racing. The sound that a group of talented drummers can make is as close to Nirvana as I think I'm gonna get in this life.

The first time I saw a troupe of drummers playing djembes, I knew I wanted to try. Like many people over the years I've found it's a lot of fun and relatively easy to play if you're willing to give it a go.

The djembe ('jem-beh') is the goblet-shaped drum used by the Maninke people of western Africa since the 1300's. The drum has been around for centuries in West African culture and over the last 50 years has made a considerable impact on world music.

The djembe's allure is obvious - it's fairly easy to play, cheap, portable, sociable and accordingly it's been assimilated into many styles of music.

Contemporary African artists, world music, electronic dance, reggae, pop, rock and ambient/meditation artists have all given the djembe the nod.

The drum circle is one of the great joys of playing the Jembe. A drum circle is a group of any number of drummers and percussionists playing (likely in a circle), either improvising rhythms or playing specific parts that make up a song.

Playing your heart out in a drum circle is a feeling like no other. The physical exertion is a good work-out and the mental exhilaration can leave you feeling euphoric, while the group effort can give you a sense of participation and belonging. You'll start to forgive all the 'drum crazies' after it leaves you panting and breathless at the same time.

For the last ten years I have been lucky enough to be involved with a group of really talented drummers in a professional capacity who have taught me so much that it would be rude not to pass it on to those who want to learn.

Hopefully I'll do them justice, do the djembe justice and spead a little love.

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Did you know?

During some festivals it wasn't uncommon for drummers to play for 3 days without stopping.

The CD cover

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