Now that you have joined our funky world, let’s hit the road! Today, our destination is Africa where we find the funky history of two of our percussion instruments: djembe and udu drum. Percussion is a vital element of African music. The beat of the drum has always been the ‘spoken’ language for aborigens. It’s their way of communicating, expressing happiness, sorrow and all range of emotions. They speak to the drums and the drums speak for them.
The first stop will be in the West Africa, the original area of djembe. Many traditional instruments are defined by the vivid name they bare. Thus, “dje” means “to gather” and “be” can be translated as “peace”. According to the aborigens, the best definition of djembe is illustrated by the saying “everyone come together in peace”. Djembe has a very funky myth. It is said that long ago, men didn’t know about the existence of djembe, chimpanzees owned it. One day, a hunter saw the chimpanzees having fun with the drum, stole it from them and brought it to his village. Today, without the drum, the chimpanzees have to beat their chests with their fists! There are few women playing the djembe, which is known as an instrument for men.
If djembe is an instrument for men, the udu drum was invented and developed by the women of the Igbo people from clay pots. The initial function of udu was as a household item used for women’s ceremonies and rites. Eventually, the udu drum evolved into a percussion instrument in Africa and around the world. We can say this instrument is unique for its property of producing a wide range of different sounds. Also, the udu drum has a range of one octave for a better percussion arrangement, something unprecedented at other percussion instruments. We could say that udu is the ancestor of the marvelous contemporary Hang drum.
Now that we know about instruments, we challenge you to recognize the sounds of these instruments in our songs! Relax and listen: https://soundcloud.com/modiwo!