The talking drum is largely popular among the Yorubas of South West Nigeria. It can imitate spoken words and language. This is why it is called the talking drum. The Talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, talking drums are some of the oldest instruments used by West African griots and their history can be traced back to the Yoruba people, the Ghana Empire and the Hausa people. The Yoruba people of south western Nigeria and Benin and the Dagomba of northern Ghana) have developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on the talking drum . Many variants of the talking drums evolved, with most of them having the same construction mentioned above. Soon, many non-hourglass shapes showed up and were given special names, such as the Dunan, Sangban, Kenkeni, Fontomfrom and Ngoma drums.
It is popular for its praise singing virtues, other usage includes curse, make announcements and warn people of dangers, all these functions may not exist in cities but in the hinterland, the talking drum thrives.
With so much energy, the drummer (s) dexterously and skillfully beat the talking drum which was tightly locked in his underarm. He expertly squeezes the cords to produce different tones.
As the drummer (s) dropped the sonorous tunes, men and women in resplendent attires dance in excitement as they splash the cash on the drummer(s). The cash is not only to appreciate the drummer’s drumming skills but also to thank them for using the talking drum to sing their praises, at parties, they are always on ground. The popularity of the drum is hinged on the fact that it can talk unlike other musical instruments which can’t. The drum is arguably the only one that can talk when compared to other musical instruments.
Playing styles are closely linked with the drum’s construction and the tonal qualities of each language, various sizes of hourglass talking drum exist, with the dimensions of the drum differing between ethnic groups, but all following the same template. Each ethnic group has her own name given to the talking drum viz Yorubas call it Dundun, Gangan, Hausas call is Kalangu, Dan Karbi, Fulanis call it Mbaggu, Baggel.




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