The Talking Drums!

History and Significance of the "Talking Drums":

Originally tribes and villages in West Africa did not have any means of communication apart from walking from village to the other with the message. This method, however could take days, so the people came up with a new method of communication, "the talking drums." Through a specific drum language, the different tribes and villages were able to communicate with one another. The "talking drums" are significant to this culture because it unifies the different tribes and villages together through the drum language.


The "talking drums" are shaped in an hourglass form. They are made of wood and leather cords running the full length of the drum to connect the two drum heads. Skins are stretched over the ends of the drum, and held in place by many cords. The drum heads at either end of the drum's wooden body are made from hide, fish-skin or other membranes which are wrapped around a wooden hoop.
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Why Buy a "Talking Drum":

1. They are a great form of entertainment

2. Their pitch can mimic the tone and prosody of the human speech

3. You can learn about the African culture

4. You can teach yourself how to understand the drum language

5. You can communicate with the different African tribes if you ever go to Africa

6. You can amaze your friends and teachers with your amazing new instrument and talents

7. They look cool and come in many different colors and sizes

Role of Music in West Africa:

Music is used in West Africa is used to communicate with spirits and Gods in different tribal rituals, for ceremonies and sacrifices. The "talking drums" play a huge role in the communication of the different tribes and villages in West Africa. Music is also used to bring everyone together; it is a mutual attraction or form of communication that brings the different tribes together.

Griot or Jeli and the "talking drums":

The griot or the jeli is a person who passes down genealogies, historical narratives, and oral traditions of their people, including praise songs. The west african griots or jelis would have passed down the language of the drum and the knowledge needed to play and understand the "talking drums."

Modern-Day Technology for Communication vs the "Talking Drums":

Today we use a phone, email, mail, the internet or the news to communicate with one another all over the globe. Originally the "talking drums" were used for communication between the different tribes and villages in West Africa. These drums inspired and also were the beginning of the first forms of communication. The drums are very similar to modern-day technology, in that different cultural groups can understand the same message sent through this communication device due to the fact that they have a language specifically for them. For example, texting today has its own language and emails and the news and the internet can all be translated to other languages very easily, allowing the messages to be understood by everyone.