3 Best: West African Djembe Drum Reviews

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Whether or not you’ve been to a celebration with a few hipsters, traveled to West Africa, or simply visited an area road nook with busking musicians, there’s certainty in my thoughts that you’ve already seen a djembe drum earlier than.

In a rush? We suggest the Meinl Percussion ADJ3.

Djembe drums have gotten increasingly standard as hipster tradition has re-emerged and as extra producers are making them at reasonably priced costs.

Selecting out a djembe will be tough since there are few music shops that carry a wide array. Components reminiscent of dimension, sound high quality, craftsmanship, and price are essential when shopping for.

High Djembe Manufacturers

The perfect djembe manufacturers will usually embody the next:

  • Meinl – glorious high quality, finest bang on your buck
  • Remo – customary artificial djembes
  • Africa Heartwood – most genuine djembe out there
  • Terre – large choice of various kinds of djembes
  • madedrums – genuine djembes
  • Toca – artificial djembes

With out additional ado, let’s take a look at the djembe drums:

Meinl Percussion ADJ3

No doubt, the most effective djembe for starting gamers is constituted of Meinl. No, you’re not getting an inexpensive drum labeled as “dwelling décor,” that is an precise instrument with actual tone. When you will not be pleased that it isn’t handmade, the value justifies the sound.

One of many biggest options of Meinl’s djembe is the truth that it doesn’t look manufactured. The truth is, every shell is hand-carved. So sure, whilst you do get a premade head, every drum will probably be distinctive and a bit of totally different.


  • Hand-carved from one stable piece of mahogany
  • Hand-picked goat-skin heads
  • Pre-stretched tuning ropes
  • Carved ornaments
  • Features a carrying case

At this worth level, that is the closest you’ll get to an “genuine” sounding djembe. It’s properly definitely worth the cash you’ll spend on it. Take a take heed to the drum beneath.

I like Meinl. They make unbelievable merchandise and this one isn’t any totally different. It’s lastly good to see an organization placing out superb merchandise at such an reasonably priced worth.

Remo Percussion MONDO Djembe

Remo’s MONDO djembe is very mondo. The truth is, that is most probably the biggest drum on the checklist and can produce a giant, but vivid sound. The drum encompasses a Skyndeep head, which is Remo’s personal artificial “recreation” of an genuine head that’s each weatherproof and heat in tone.

The MONDO is also key-tuned when made, so that you gained’t have to fret about it sounding poor upon arrival. You possibly can simply get huge boomy bass tones or excessive pitched slaps with Remo’s djembe.

The drum does keep in tune fairly properly, even in humid climates. When you’re going to be taking your drum with you open air and in all types of climate, this one’s excellent as it’ll keep robust within the worst of components.

Personally, Remo has by no means excited me an excessive amount of with world percussion. I believe they fall flat a bit of bit, and that is no exception. I perceive the concept of weatherproofing and artificial drum shells, however these are normally very inauthentic and don’t sound excellent.

Hand-crafted Djembe from the Africa Heartwood Mission

This djembe from Africa Heartwood Mission is the primary “genuine” drum on the checklist. The drums from AHP are imported straight from Africa and are examined and inspected previous to transport to the doorstep.

Surprisingly, the drum isn’t that costly.

Simply from general look, you’ll be able to actually inform how genuine it seems. Nothing seems excellent and each drum will probably be totally different with its personal distinctive character.

Every wooden shell is hand-carved and the top is constituted of pure West African goat pores and skin.

The Africa Heartwood Mission helps native artisans in Africa and is a non-profit group.

Authenticity is a giant deal for me. I like the drum! Every thing about it appears actual. When you’re critical about distinctive world percussion, don’t get an artificial Western-made drum.

The origin of the djembe and different African drums

The very first thing that involves thoughts when most individuals consider music from Africa is the sound of energetic, rhythmic drums. drums are the central participant of the music itself versus merely an accompaniment.

drums are the very coronary heart and soul of the Saharan rhythm. The truth is, probably the most common devices which join us collectively in a non-verbal but highly effective language are arms down, drums!

There are lots of varieties of African drums. The most well-liked and extensively used of those is the Djembe (pronounced gem-bay), which has its roots in Guinea and neighboring Mali, West Africa the place it was identified to first have been made and utilized by the native Mandinke tribe.

Descendants of the Mandinke comprise the vast majority of Guinea and 42% of Gambia making them the biggest ethnic group in these nations. They’re additionally present in smaller numbers all all through Africa.

What’s a djembe and the way is one made?

The djembe is a big drum that’s formed like a goblet with the decrease half serving as a base for the bigger body and head.

The normal method of creating the instrument entails the usage of a hollowed out tree trunk for the stable a part of the drum and goatskin to type the top.

A substantial amount of exhausting work goes into making the instrument on this method for after gathering the entire uncooked supplies, the carving itself can take as much as months.

Craftsmen seldom use greater than their naked arms and an ax to type the form of the drum.

A hammer is used to smoothen tough edges and add ending touches.

Creative masterpieces are created on the completed floor which personalizes the drum, displays the drum-makers heritage and, as later talked about, depicts the occasions and functions for which the drum is used.

Cheaper, mass-manufactured djembes

Artificial variations of the djembe substitute wooden for fiberglass and artificial fibers instead of goatskin.

There’s a compromise in sound on account of such an change; nevertheless, each the normal and artificial djembe are preferable in several settings.

The previous is understood for its craftsmanship and wealthy sound whereas the latter is your best option when a brighter sound is required to supply a distinction amidst different devices.

The artificial djembe can also be for much longer lasting and beneath correct care, can final for many years.

The djembe’s function in conventional cultures

Within the traditions of Africa during which the djembe is prevalent, its music conveys a message “spoken” by the djembefola and units the ambiance in quite a lot of ceremonies and occasions.

It’s typically performed by African males, often called djembefolas, although anybody from any caste is permitted to play the instrument.

Various kinds of djembe, carved with distinctive designs mirror their functions: face masks, searching animals, or individuals participating in life occasions reminiscent of a marriage scene are used based mostly on which occasion is happening.

Sure djembe had been utilized in therapeutic ceremonies because it was believed that the sound of the djembe may increase an individual’s vitality in addition to ward off evil spirits. These are normally those with the “guardian” faces carved on the aspect.

It’s performed solo in addition to in duets or massive teams of individuals accompanied by dancing and vital rituals for the prosperity and properly being of the group.

How is the djembe performed?

To be able to play the djembe, the djembefola first holds it between his legs along with his ft hugging the bottom. There are three principal sounds produced by the djembe. From lowest to highest pitch, these are the bass, tone, and slap.

The distinction in sound is created by placing the hand towards the top of the drum at totally different distances from the middle. The farther away from the middle, the increased the pitch of the sound.

Due to this fact, the bass sound is produced by placing the middle of the drum, and slap by slapping the very edge.

A musical idea known as “swing” is essential in African music. It’s principally the results of taking part in a repeated sample of those three principal sounds in a relaxed and regular method in order that they mix collectively right into a flowing rhythm.

Each performer and listener “swing” into that rhythm and benefit from the music being performed. Oftentimes, the bass sound is commonly used to “punctuate” the message performed on the djembe, marking the finish of a refrain or sample earlier than one other spherical or sample is performed.

When did the djembe attain Westerners?

After hundreds of years of recognition in a lot of Africa, the djembe started to take the world stage at the tip of the Nineteen Sixties due to efficiency teams from Guinea and Mali who shared their conventional music with the US.

One of many first teams was a dance firm by the identify of “Les Ballets Africains” which promoted African dance and tradition.

When the group reached nice success on Broadway in 1959, many People grew on this novel kind of artwork they’ve by no means seen or heard earlier than.

Attributable to their pursuits, Ladji Camara, a djembe maestro and member of “Les Ballets” was in a position to acquire a following of scholars who realized the way to professionally play the djembe.

Current day djembe gamers and general reputation

Djembe music continues to be on the rise within the current day and has now been warmly acquired in all six of the world’s populated continents.

A few of the hottest djembe legends embody Mamady Keita and Soungalo Coulibaly, each of whom are often called world-class djembefolas.

The Djembefola Documentary

The 2 artists hail from Guinea and Mali, respectively. Their famend accomplishments embody Keita’s creation of an award-winning documentary known as “Djembefola” and Coulibaly’s invention of “Flez”- a mix of djembe together with different conventional African devices, the acoustic guitar, and vocal music.

Each legends have contributed to the expansion of djembe music, its preservation for future generations, and its inclusion in immediately’s fashionable music trade. You possibly can watch the documentary beneath.


The djembe in standard tradition

Maybe probably the most compelling purpose why the sound of the djembe resonates with so many individuals is its inclusion within the soundtrack of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Along with a number of classical devices such because the piano and flute, a big selection of devices from throughout Africa will be heard on this movie centered within the jungles of Kenya.

Most actually, one of many many percussion devices somebody would be capable of choose up on is the djembe which is performed alongside its cousins the “djun djun” and speaking drums.

“The Lion King” has been produced each as one of many biggest Disney animations and as an award-winning finest musical re-enacting the unique model of the film.

Over 140 million individuals worldwide have watched both one or each film variations, persevering with to be impressed by it immediately and touched by the spirit of African tradition and the djembe.

The djembe remains to be standard in a world of commercialized music

It’s certainly a marvel that in an more and more urbanized world during which electronica competes with lots of the extra conventional devices, the djembe makes a proud assertion of its previous, current, and future.

From its birthplace, within the forests of West Africa, it has made a journey throughout the globe into the ears and hearts of so many individuals.

To those that perceive, it speaks of their roots, their hardships, their victories. To those that no less than hear, it speaks of the soul, of rhythm, of the unification that music gives.

For within the Mandinke custom, all of life is “foli” or “rhythm.” There will be no motion with out rhythm.

Issues to think about when getting a djembe

Not all drums are created equally. Some are mass-produced in a manufacturing facility whereas others are hand-made with care. Listed below are some issues to think about earlier than shopping for:


Whereas the scale gained’t essentially change how you play the drum, it undoubtedly will change the tone. The bigger the drum, the deeper sounding it is going to be.

When you’re searching for a fats, bass-rich drum, go for one thing greater. You’ll most probably pay a bit of extra, nevertheless.

An enormous drum will also be a bit of robust to play for youthful kids. Hold that in thoughts in the event you plan on getting one on your baby.


Djembes will be made from both wooden or an artificial materials. There’s no purpose that one is healthier than the opposite, nevertheless, picket drums will sound rather more genuine than artificial ones.

When you’re simply searching for one thing enjoyable and aren’t too critical about taking part in, you’ll be able to persist with a cheaper, artificial drum.

Do you personal one? Tell us which one you’ve down beneath within the feedback. If we messed one thing up or missed something, please don’t hesitate to bug us.

Thanks for studying! 🙂

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