Traditional African Drums

The logo for Africa Region shows some African drums.

Drums are a very important part of African culture. They come in many sizes and shapes, which all make different sounds. Drums are played along with singing and dancing for celebration (for example, to announce the coming and going of visitors, or to honor important people) or to communicate with other villages (although newer technology is slowly taking the place of drums).

A master drummer always has the leading drum called the Iya Ilu. It is decorated with bells around the drumhead. The drum is two headed, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, with cords stretched down the length of the drum. When the drummer presses on the cords of this drum, the drumheads tighten and make a higher sound. When the drummer loosens his hold, the sound is low.

Here is a list of materials which could be used to make small drums:

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This page last updated June 16th, 1999