Djembe Drum Essay

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Isaac Reed Professor Jobe Music Appreciation 27 – Nov. – 12 Djembe Drum The djembe drum has played an important role in its history. The origin of the djembe drum is crucial to its history. The djembe drum has its own unique sound. The djembe drum also has a certain style of play required to correctly use it. It also has its own place in traditional ensembles. The origin of the djembe drum is fascinating. The djembe drum comes from the Mandinka caste of blacksmiths, known as the Numu. The spreading of the djembe drum throughout West Africa is believed to be from the migration of the Numu during the first millennium AD. There are no hereditary restrictions on who may become a djembefola (one who plays the djembe). Anybody who plays the djembe is known as a djembefola because the term djembefola does not imply any particular level of skill. Geographically, the djembe is associated with the Mali Empire. Though because of the lack of written records in West Africa countries it is unknown today whether the djembe postdates or predates the Mali Empire. It is said that the history of the djembe dates back at least several centuries and possibly more than a millennium. Traditionally, just as it is today, in Africa an individual needs to spend plenty of years with his master in ceremonies and other festivities before becoming an actual djembefola. In this day in “western civilizations” learning to play the djembe normally involves finding a master drummer and having lessons, whether the lessons be private or in groups. In general players need to learn the basic sounds and traditional rhythms to be able to do well in class. As with any other instrument many years of hard work and practice are required to become one of the best. The sound of the djembe drum is quite unique. Putting the size of the djembe into perspective it is actually a remarkably loud drum.

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