Legacy of Drums…

                                                       ***The History Of The Drum

The concept of the Drum is probably as old as intelligent man. A drum is an instrument that is played by beating on a stretched membrane. It consists of a body, or a hollowed-out piece, a membrane, or a piece of animal skin placed over the top, tuning pegs, or pegs placed into the sides of the membrane to tighten or release the pressure on the membrane, and the striking object, usually a stick of some sort. While most people may think that a sound is produced in the body of the Drum, sound is actually produced by the membrane and its vibration. Sound can be changed by the amount of tension in the membrane, or by how tightly it is stretched over the body of the drum. The oldest Drums were probably hollowed sections of tree trunks, with a piece of animal skin over the top. Gourds are other hollow vegetables and fruits are also prime candidates for early Drums.  

Ancient Drums have been discovered in almost every part of the world. Egyptian tombs have yielded small Drums used for ceremonies. Several caves in Peru contain wall markings depicting Drums in various aspects of societal life. The American Indians used a series of wood and gourd Drums for their celebrations and music, and some of these Drums are still used in ceremonies today.

In Africa, where music is simply an interpretation of everyday life in sound, Drums were used as speech. Simply a pattern of beats played in a certain way could communicate vast amounts of information. Drums are also used for many religious purposes. In certain parts of Africa, Drums are venerated, and also given entities and gender. Therefore, the history of the Drum has evolved from one of religious use and interpretation to musical accompaniment and creation. The structure of their religion identifies this in its classification which is belief in God – Divinities – Spirit – Ancestors and in the practice of Magic and Medicine. This practice entails communication and communion with a deity within the context of worship.

Vodun Drums

It is noted in this sense that most of the worship and festival go with a particular type of Drum that is made sacred for a peculiar ritual. ***Ritual, is known to be a method of carrying out religious actions or ceremony. It is also a means of communicating something which is of religious significance, through word, symbol and action. A visible demonstration of these activities occurs in ritual and festivals. It is highlighted by both of them that ritual could take communal or personal form. Personal ritual is considered as the rites that surround the principal events in the lives of individuals while the communal ritual shows the relationship of religion to the structure of the society. In all, their submission shows that ritual can generate a sense of certainty and familiarity and it can also provide continuity and unity among those who perform or attend it. Through the ritual action and word, people are able to exercise a certain amount of control over the invisible world and forces of nature. In this way, humans consider themselves not just as passive creatures in the universe, but creative agents. For the purpose of ritual, human beings use almost everything at their disposal to communicate their actions and words.

A true Master Drummer has to be called to the Drum, often from an early age. This highly respected status that is conferred by other Master Drummers is not easily earned. Technical agility represents only a stage through which the would-be initiate passes. In African Drumming, the title of Master Drummer is given to a Drummer who is well known by other Masters for their high skill and knowledge. It is a title passed down from a Master to their pupil, after they have learned all there is to know about the African Drum. In general, a Master Drummer has given their whole life to the Spirit of the Drum. They are able to play any part of any rhythm for their ethnic group and neighboring ethnic groups, in any ceremonial situation. They also knows the Songs and Dances that go with each Rhythm.

“A Drum-maker often chooses a tree from the side of a well–traveled road from which to carve a Drum, for such a tree will have heard much conversation and will therefore make a Drum that is especially good at talking.”

The Great Master Drummers: Bata-Drums traditionally have been sacred instruments touched and played only by certain initiates and reserved for a religious context. This has changed somewhat since the 1950s, and now some drums are played in some secular contexts by people not involved in the religion, including folkloric and even modern performances and on commercial recordings. This is a bit like the transition of certain songs of prayer into commercialized gospel music. The Bata-Drums rhythms are considered sacred and spiritually powerful, but are now sometimes played outside religious settings. There are still certain sacred Drums, however, and some rhythms, which are reserved purely for ritual contexts. Non-initiates do not play these drums, do not play in ceremonies, and are not taught certain more secret rhythms.

*** In 1936, Bata drumming was brought out into the public for the first time in Cuba. Pablo Roche = Iya (Iyalu)   Aguedo Morales = Itotele (Omele-Ako)  Jesus Perez = Okonkolo (Kudi)

*** I’ve come so far and achieved so much… But the best part of it all is that this is only the beginning… I will never stop growing… For my evolution is eternal and I am forever becoming

Master Drummer: “We created this community for people from all backgrounds to discuss Spiritual, Paranormal, Metaphysical, Philosophical, Supernatural, and Esoteric subjects.”

***West African knowledge of God is expressed in proverbs, short statements, songs, prayers, names, myths, stories, and religious ceremonies…

Reference Sources: J.K Olupona = B.W Adepegba = A. Bankole = Google Search/Photo

Olu M. Ige = The one gift from Eledumare (owner of mysteries) to the world through the “Kaaro oji’ re” tribe is their drums expecially Iya -Ilu, Duncan and bata.

Liz Lindau = I’ve been following him and reading his literature for some time now. I’ve learned so much from Baba Yagbe Awolowo Onilu!

Arleif Day  = Thank you Yagbe Awolowo Onilu for being you and never changing. You hold secrets that are revealed when the lesson ripens. Thank you for your guidance, love, and passion. We must live for our hearts to live infinitely.