Djembe Ensemble

Djembe: West African Drumming

To play the Djembé is to be directly involved in a rich musical tradition that is as vibrant today as in the past.

The history of the Djembé is as fascinating as its sound. Among the Mandinque people of West Africa, the Djembé is considered an important musical instrument and their lives are inextricably entwined in its rhythms. The Djembé is indispensable for occasions like wedding ceremonies, religious festivals such as Ramadan and Tabaski, and for everyday activities such as farming and other work.

The Djembé is an instrument not only to be played for fun, but also to be used for telling stories whenever there is a story to be told. Each rhythm has its own meaning, since the traditions of the Mandinque are handed down orally from generation to generation. The Duke Djembé Ensemble learns rhythms in this traditional way, memorizing each one and its significance as the Mandinque musicians have for hundreds of years.