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History of Djembe Drum

Djembe History & Playing Styles

The Djembe is named from the Djem tree, which is largely found in Mali was used originally used in the making of Djembe shells.   The  In the Djembe creation process the shell would be carved in one piece, in the shape of a goblet, with two open ends out of a significant section of a Djem tree.   On the larger open end a animal (typically Goat) skin was then stretched the top and secured by a special tightening process using rope.  The process hasn't changed too much today, except many djembes, such as the LP Djembes use lugs rather than rope for tightening.  Nonetheless, more traditional rope tuned Djembes are still popular and are outstanding instruments.
The traditional African way to play the Djembe is by standing.  A should harness strap helps support the drum and the lower portion of the drum rests between the legs.   Sometimes the strap is even wrapped around the players waist.  Both hands are used to play the Djembe but the legs are also important for balancing and controlling the instrument.   The Djembe is played in countries around the globe now.  It is also common to play Djembe while sitting down.  The players legs wrap around or 'hug' the shell for control but the should harness is not typically used or necessary for the sitting position.  
The Djembe produces a range of percussive sounds.  This enables the Djembe to be used effectively as a bass drum or solo instrument.  It may have the widest range of tones of all hand drums.  Its healing power is complimented by it's power to make people dance.  Both it's healing and dancing powers are admired and practiced by drummers from Africa and around the globe.  

Djembe Drum History - History of Djembe & playing styles

 

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