Mysterious History Of African Drum

The Mysterious History Of The African Drum

by Saskia Carelse June 20, 2018

Find out the mysterious origin, history and evolution of the African drum

There is much of our planetary history that is unwritten and unknown, including the history of mankind and how we have evolved over the years. Often times we take things for granted, not taking a second to wonder how it was invented, how much work and dedication was put into it, or WHO was the spark behind the idea. While many things remain a mystery, we are fortunate for the stories that have been written down or told through generations.

Have you ever wondered who thought up the concept of drumming? After all, there had to be that one person who first had the idea and eventually turned it into a reality. Before then, drums didn't exist! Isn't that a crazy thought? For the most part, African history isn't recorded, although we do have some evidence of their historical beliefs and day-to-day happenings through their rock art or the tools they used to use. Otherwise, most of our knowledge about the African history has been passed down through tradition or story-telling.

African Rock Art History

To this day, drumming is an important part of African culture. The most commonly used drum is known as a 'djembe', the word apparently originating from the Bambara (people of Mali) saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace" ( One of their legends tell the story of a djinn (spirit or genie) who taught a blacksmith how to carve and craft the drum in the 12th Century.

The African drum, which comes in many forms other than the djembe, is primarily the instrument using during various ceremonies, accompanied by dancing, singing and clapping. Various ceremonies include marriages, baptisms, funerals, circumcisions and trances. 

African Drumming Ceremonies

Historians have narrowed down where the African drum originated from to West Africa, specifically in Mali, Guinea, Senegal and other neighbouring West African countries. The drum spread throughout the rest of the world over the following years and now makes up a huge part of our music culture and has evolved into many different shapes since its original form.

The Mysterious History and Evolution of the African drum

Let's take a second to be thankful for the mysterious history and evolution of the African drum. If it were not for that djinn and blacksmith, or whichever legend you choose to believe, our entire music world would not be what it is today!

If you enjoyed this article, why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram :) We're always happy to connect with our followers. If you have any queries, complaints or compliments, please never hesitate to contact us. 

Saskia Carelse
Saskia Carelse


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Tours Africa Travel Blog

Bronze Whaler Shark feeding on a sardine run bait ball
My Sardine Run experience

by Petrus Jacobus van der Walt February 24, 2022

Summary of the sardine run,

The sardine run is the biggest of animal migrations in the world. The sardine migration, is a totally wild unpredictable event. When it all comes together, as it does for three months annually, the sardine run is the most spectacular wildlife spectacle on the planet; dolphins, seals and whales whip the ocean surface into whitecaps, thousands of birds diving, whales lunge feeding through shoals scattering the sardines. It is a twilight zone where time stands still and becomes meaningless, as you witness this amazing play of life and death unfolding.

If you are looking for a real African experience and adventure diving at its best, the Wild Coast sardine run will not disappoint!

Read More

Cape Town Accommodation - Vineyard Hotel
Cape Town Accommodation - Vineyard Hotel

by Alan Maguire July 21, 2021

The hotel is situated in the southern suburbs of Cape Town and is recognised for its beautiful setting and relaxing atmosphere. It is also a popular “afternoon tea” spot with locals who come to walk the gardens and enjoy the tranquility.

Read More

A big five safari on the Garden Route
A big five safari on the Garden Route

by Janine Avery July 19, 2021

Read More