Talking Drums of Ghana - West Africa

In Ghana the talking drum also known as "Dondo" is mostly used by people from the northern part of the country.Talking drums can be traced as far back as to the old Ghana Empire. It is deemed one of th oldest musical instrument and communication legacy in Ghana.

Apart from the talking drum being used as a musical instrument, used to lead drumming, dancing and singing, it was also used to summon villagers to community meetings mostly arranged by chiefs and traditional eleders orders. It was also used as an aider in story telling.


The ability of the talking drum to micmick human speech is all based on it's make up and how it is played. It is made with wood in the shape of an isle glass. The ends are covered with stretched skin of a sheep and the midlle bit is finished with tightly knitted ropes.

To play the drum the player must have a particular curved end wooden mallet in one hand and nestle the drum between the other hand and side of the body. The drum is then played intermettedly by either tightening or realeasing the ropes to create notations and different tones of whatever sentences that is made.


The "Atumpam" Talking Drum of the Ashanti people

There are variations of the drums doted around other countries in West Africa such as Nigeria,Mali and The Gambia.

It is given the name talking drum due to its ability to micmick human speech.

 The "Atumpa" is the Ashanti version of the Talking drums. It is often beaten in pairs using curved end wooden mallet or using the palms of ones hands. The main difference of the Atumpa from the origional ailse shaped talking drum is that it curved in a cone shape out of wood with supporting stand at the bottom.

The Atumpa is normally played during royal occasions, funerals, state functions.