According to the Hamill Gallery of Tribal Art, African drums are used for more than making music. They are also ceremonial objects that can honour the ancestors or the means for communication made in a range of styles.
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Ceremonial African drums are symbols of power, fostering both belief and personal stature for the owner. Nigerian ceremonial drums are deeply carved with images like figures and heads.
Slit drums are usually made in the form of an animal or person, and the long chamber on which the figure is carved is the body of the drum itself. Drums like these are made in the Congo and Liberia, for instance, and are meant to be struck along a slit carved somewhere on the length of the drum.
Senufu drums, made on the Ivory Coast, are taller in form, with subtle carvings and simple elegance. They are used for everything from dance to storytelling.
Many African drums feature double heads for playing on either side. Chokew drums are one such type, struck with the hands. They often feature abstract designs. Talking drums, smaller, quieter drums, are also frequently double headed. These are struck with a stick.
These drums of West Africa are among the most popular and well-known of African drums. They evoke a powerful sound and familiar elegant shape.
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