Talking drums (known by many names including Dundun, Gangan, Dondo, Odondo, Lunna, Donno, Kalangu, Doodo, Tama, Tamanin and Ekwe) are a member of the hourglass shaped family of pressure drums and are one of the oldest musical instruments in West Africa.
The Talking Drum’s ability to imitate the tonal sound of language has made it superior to any of those drums that existed before it. It was purposefully invented to send messages. Since it can talk and sing, that is how it became a musical instrument.
Today, the Talking Drum is still used for communication. It is used to correct the errors of the societies. It is used to tell history of the past, to teach people how to cope with the present and how to prepare for the future.
Perhaps what makes the Talking Drum a unique drum is its ability to adapt to the tone of any musical instruments; I mean musical instruments of the universe. It fares well in jazz, blues, R&B, rock and roll, reggae, classical music and even choral music.
The Talking Drum can be played in solo or in ensemble. It can be played tied to a single pitch or loose for variable tones. The Talking Drum is very beautiful visually and can be used to decorate the home.
The Talking Drum as an ensemble goes beyond what the eyes can see. It is a reflection of the African family life. What impressed me most as a talking drum player, is not only its sweet sound, its shapes and sizes, but its family and how the role of each member of the family is defined. The role of each family member must be played correctly and at the right time creating harmony. Therefore, the talking drum is a book of life that everyone must read, digest and apply.
Learning to play the Talking Drum is not as difficult as many people think it is. Every pattern played in the talking drum is very simple. What makes the music interesting (and more difficult) is the relationship between patterns. Basically, music is Power, strength, healing, touching, consulting, unity , unification, feeling, familiarizing, inviting, therapy, consoling, condoling, emotion, knowledge and wisdom….music is everything.
Can be used for interior decor, usually hung on the wall, giving your living room that unique Afican touch.