Hand crafted African drums have a long history in the African continent. For many years these handcrafted musical instruments were considered sacred and powerful, and were used for all sorts of ceremonies. Nowadays most African drum makers make what they call ‘folk music’, which is essentially traditional music that is popular amongst the African Diaspora. But it should be said that African drums are in fact still very much a part of African culture, despite the fact that many people have moved on to play them for money or in a professional capacity.
African drums and congas make use of many different musical instruments. A conga drum (also known as an Indian site) is made out of a single hollowed wooden body and has a series of metal hoops attached along its length. The head of the drum can be made from stone or other hard material, and the body is covered with bark or other stuffing. The sole purpose of these congas is to generate a rhythmic pulse on the surface of the drum by striking the drum with the head. The other type of African drums is made from wood, rattles, metal pipes, metals and other ornamental material and produce different but striking tones.
To make an African drum you must first have an instrument that produces a conga-style pulse, such as an electronically operated metal gadget. Next you will need wood, metal, leather and thick gauges of string. The next step is to construct the drum’s body. An ordinary metal bowl cut in the shape of a conga will do. Add layers of wood on either side, to strengthen it.
An exciting aspect of African drums is that they can be used for a wide variety of ceremonial and ritualistic activities. They are used in drumming ceremonies and in casting spells, and even in playing music. They form an important part of various African religions and communities, such as that of the San Bushmen who believes in the spirits of animals. They use these instruments to make sure that they remain in good health throughout their lives and that they perform their duties as spiritual leaders. This is because the drum is an amulet that protects them from evil forces, as well as making them able to protect their people and their home.
Different types of African drums can be used to make music depending on what the drum represents. For instance, there are seven drums known collectively as the drum line which is made up of a single drum, two congas, two bass drums, three cymbals and two tambourines. The single drum represents the darkness of space and the seven different elements around us. The bass drum represents rhythm, while the cymbal makes us move or feel like something is walking or buzzes. The tambourine gives the sound of song and the tambourine also represents joy.
Many musical instrument specialists consider the African drums to be very unique instruments. They have a sound that no other type of musical instrument has, making them extremely difficult to reproduce or copy. Even though the invention of the recorder and the piano has changed the way that we do music, these African drums still serve as a very special kind of musical instruments. This is because although they may not be very popular today, the sounds of the African drums will never die.