West African Djembe


The djembe is a West African wooden drum played largely in Mali, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal and Guinea. Its shape originated from the mortar that was used to pound grain in African villages. It is thought to have originated in Mali and played for religious ceremonies, although the Malenke people of Guinea, and in particular the Ballet African and National Dance troupe of Guinea, are credited with popularizing the djembe in the West.

Essential to the djembe batterie are the low register drums that carry the melodic foundation: the kenkeni is a small double headed drum also made of wood (sometimes metal) which is played by a stick and a small bell. It is the time keeper (or metronome) of the ensemble. It covers the high tone of the three double headed drums; the sangba is a slightly larger drum that has a similar profile as a kenkeni. It is played with a stick and covers the mid - range of the batterie; the jun jun, is the bass drum of the ensemble and carries the lowest sound. It is often made of a 55 gallon metal can and can be played with two sticks.



The djembe batterie members:

Daryl Kwasi Burgee
Steve Jackson
Latif Ezekiel