You can learn to play a wide variety of African Drums when you take African Drumming lessons with Ray and his team at Classes in Melbourne.

Selection of Ray’s drums

Ray specialises in giving lessons on West African drums. The popular Djembe drum is one of the main drums that Ray gives lessons on. Other drums used in Ray’s lessons are the Dun Dun drums played with sticks. These drums always accompany the Djembe drum in an African Drumming group.

Students Playing Djembe Drums

The African Drumming rhythms that feature the Djembe come from a number of countries in the West African region. Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Gambia and the Ivory Coast are countries where the Djembe and Dun Duns play a prominent role in traditional music.

Ray Introduces West African Drums and Percussion Instruments

Other countries in West Africa like Ghana also play the Djembe but have other traditional drums as their main instrument. However the popularity of the Djembe has now spread to a number of countries and traditional musicians from these countries are adopting the djembe as a solo drum and adapting their own rhythms to be played on Djembes.

Ray also teaches rhythms from Ghana that use the Kpanlogo drum played with the hands as well as other Ghanaian drums that use sticks. There are a wide variety of drums and rhythms that Ray teaches and he selects this repertoire so that his students get a broader appreciation of more than one type of rhythm and more than one type of drum.

Collection of Rays Drums including the Ghanaian Kpanlogo Drums with Pegs

Typical rhythms from the West African region that borders countries like Guinea, Mali, Senegal and The Ivory Coast use up to three and four Djembe drums and three Dun Dun drums together in a group.

Ray teaches a number of rhythms from these countries so that students can appreciate how the Djembes and Dun Duns play together to create a complete rhythm and so that they become familiar with this type of rhythm.

Ray teaching Abodan rhythm to his Intermediate Class using Dun Dun Drum

Ray also teaches rhythms typical to Ghana where the Dun Dun drums are not as prominent. The bell plays a significant role in these rhythms together with Kpanlogo drums and these days Ghanaian musicians are also using the djembe drum in their rhythms.

Ray also teaches rhythms that use drums played only with sticks. These drumming rhythms can sound very powerful and although not well known become very popular once students are introduced to them.

Sogo, Kidi Drums

Once students have completed a few courses on the Djembe Drum they may be introduced to drums from Ghana like the Kpanlogo Drum from the coastal region of Ghana and played by the Ga people.

Ray Demonstrates the Kpanlogo Drum

Other drums belonging to the Ewe people of Ghana are also introduced into Ray’s classes. These stick drums are called Sogo, Kidi and Kanganu with a drum called Atsimevu playing the lead accompanied by Bell patterns.

Ray demonstrates the Sogo Drum from Ghana

Large powerful sounding drums called Obonu or Fontonfrom that are played for ceremonial occasions and for Chiefs and Royalty are also used in Ray’s more advanced drumming classes.

Tettey and his group The Kusun Ensemble playing Obonu Drums

Ray also teaches frame drums from Ghana that are used for street carnival parades and Squeeze Drums, also known as Talking Drums played under the arm and squeezed to change the pitch and produce different tonal sounds. 

These Talking Drums are found all over West Africa and known by various names depending on the ethnic group and language being used to describe them.

Ray Demonstrates The Talking Drum

What we have here is only a very small collection of drums found in Africa. There are hundreds if not thousands more drums but we can only start small.