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Master Drummers of Dagbon

Praise-singing drummer, Tamale
Drummer singing praises, Tamale
More about:
Master Drummers of Dagbon

"There are heavy spiritual repercussions when masters of drumming express themselves in a tradition of artistic genius.  The singing of the drums resembles the breathing of the wind, and when the sound of the drumming dies, it moves away like exhaled breath.  The bass drums vibrate inside the earth.  I have heard drumming in the night in Dagbon and gone to search for it, but as I moved toward it, it seemed to come from a different direction.  It would not be until the next day that I would learn that the drumming had come from a village two or three miles away."

Sample songs:  Tora (3:12)  Gaabite Zamanduniya (6:00)

The praise-name dances are danced individually inside a dance circle, where the drummers surround a dancer to beat their rhythms through his or her body so that, as the Dagbamba say, 'the body is enlightened.'  The experience of dancing with drummers on all sides is incredible, for the sound is more than quadraphonic:  those who seek the feeling of authentic participation may begin to appreciate the technological prescience of the Dagbamba drummers by using headphones at high volume."

Sample MP3s present only the first few seconds of a song.  To encourage understanding of the gradually increasing intensity and dynamics of Dagbamba drumming, I would recommend listening to a full song.  

Web Reviews

Order from:  
Amazon CD:  <Vol 1>  <Vol 2>
Amazon MP3s: <Vol 1>  <Vol 2>
Rounder Records:  <Vol 1>  <Vol 2>

Takai dancer
Takai dance:  Alhaji Ibrahim on lumbila, Fuseini Jeblin on gungon

Tora dancers
Tora dancers:  Fuseini Jeblin on gungon

Damba Festival dance circle, Nanton
Damba festival dance circle, Nanton

Dagbmba boy with toy drum
Dagbana boy with toy drum
Young Baamaaya dancers
Young Baamaaya dancers

Dagbamba boys drumming Takai
Boys' Takai ensemble

Young Takai dancer
Young Takai dancer

Drummer on horseback
Drummer on horseback
Damba dancer, Nanton

Drummers accompanying VIPs, Tamale
Drummers following VIPs