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Hand Drums and the African Experience

Sweet Sensation of Africa’s Hand Drums Experience in Entertainment

African drums are so iconic of Africa that an African drummer is almost a stereotype. The fact is that drums have been an intrinsic part of African life for countless generations – to an extent that is probably beyond the grasp of non-Africans.

It’s generally accepted that Africa is the cradle of humanity, so it’s not unreasonable to conclude that music formed a part of the African experience before many, if not all, other civilizations were even born. Music is deeply woven into the fabric of African life, and drums are the primordial musical instruments.

Africa’s Heritage | Hand Drum.

Hand Drums and the African Experience

African drums are so iconic of Africa that an African drummer is almost a stereotype. The fact is that drums have been an intrinsic part of African life for countless generations – to an extent that is probably beyond the grasp of non-Africans.

It’s generally accepted that Africa is the cradle of humanity, so it’s not unreasonable to conclude that music formed a part of the African experience before many, if not all, other civilizations were even born. Music is deeply woven into the fabric of African life, and drums are the primordial musical instruments.
Drums play an important role in every aspect of African life, including the physical, emotional and spiritual. African hand drums are played to communicate, celebrate, mourn and inspire. They’re played in times of peace and war, planting and harvesting, birth and death.

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Drums have been such a large part of Africans’ daily experience for so long that drumming pulses throughout their collective unconscious. It’s in their genes. Drums are inseparable from the African culture – they help define it. So much so, that when the slave trade scattered Africans throughout the world, the love of drumming they took with them irrevocably altered the world of music.

Today, some of us recognize some of the prominent African hand drums, but few of us realize how extensive their influence has become. Hand drums such as the conga and bongos are not normally thought of as African drums, but careful consideration will reveal their roots. Listen to the music these drums play a role in (Latin jazz for example), and you will hear typically African characteristics.

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