The Djembe Drum

Toca Street Djembe
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Djembe Drum, Cherry
The Djembe Drum - also spelt jenbe - is a West African percussion instrument that is gaining popularity, not least because of the work of Ben Harper. Many of those who buy and play djembe drums today - or simply appreciate the music - probably have little or no idea of their origin and meaning.

A popular brand of Djembe in the west today is that made by Remo.

What Is A Djembe?

The djembe is a single skin African drum that resembles a chalice in shape. Some have likened its appearance to a mushroom. It is designed to be played with the hand.

A key point about the djembe is that the base as well as the "cup" is hollow. This produces additional resonance and helps give the drum its distinctive sound and variety of percussive sounds. The drum is traditionally carved from one piece of wood and covered with goatskin.

The drums are made in a variety of sizes ranging from around 6" to 18" in diameter with heights up to 24". Very often a large and small djembe are played side by side, the small djembe acting as accompaniment. Dunun drum bells are also often used as well.