Djembe drum

Ray’s Djembe class performing at Federation Square, Melbourne

The Djembe drum is now one of the most popular African Drums and is played all over the world. You can learn how to play the Djembe at Ray’s African Drumming Classes in Melbourne.

The Djembe has gained enormous popularity in countries outside Africa and has helped popularize African drumming in the wider community. There are several people now playing Djembe in Melbourne both for fun and also professionally. Ray was the first musician in Melbourne to introduce the Djembe to the wider community and to start teaching Djembe in Melbourne in 1992. Several people enjoy making music and playing African rhythms by joining ‘drum circles’ that use the Djembe as their primary instrument.

The Djembe Drum and Djembe rhythms have been around for centuries and many of the rhythms are sophisticated and complex, and like any instrument can take several years to reach a high level of playing. However at the same time it is an instrument that suits beginners as the novice player can still produce good sounds to get them started and to enjoy the experience.

Join one of Ray’s Djembe classes to learn how to play the Djembe correctly and to learn how to strike the Djembe correctly to get a variety of sounds. Ray will teach you lots of interesting rhythms that are played traditionally on the Djembe.

Ray Demonstrates the Djembe Drum
Video of Djembe

At his Djembe classes in Melbourne, Ray will teach you how to play Djembe in a group with other Djembe players and you can learn how each Djembe plays a different part and how all the parts fit together harmoniously.
The Djembe drum is a very versatile instrument and due to its shape can easily produce a variety of sounds.

It is also easy to carry and is an instrument that is ‘beginner friendly”.
Ray has studied extensively and played in Africa and knows the cultural context of the Djembe rhythms.

In Ray’s Melbourne classes he explains the history of the Djembe and how the use of the Djembe in African society has changed over the years.

Djembe Class

The Djembe is a goblet shaped drum made out of wood and hollowed out in the middle. A skin, usually a goatskin is stretched across the top of the drum and tensioned using rope.

Each Djembe in the ensemble is tuned differently with the lead Djembe tuned to the highest pitch.
The other Djembes are tuned slightly lower and play the supporting parts.

Djembe Drum

Djembes were originally used for traditional ceremonies and rituals. The drum would accompany song and dance. These rhythms and songs would be used to mark significant events in society. Harvest festivals, births, marriages and deaths would be celebrated and honoured with music.

Master Drummer Adotey from Ghana

The Djembe originated in the region bordering the countries of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso. As there was no written history it is difficult to find information on the exact origins of the Djembe.

However as oral history is passed down from generation to generation there are some stories that talk of events in history. My discussions with traditional musicians from West Africa indicate the Djembe may have originated from the Malinke people and was a drum used by the Blacksmith caste.

The drum however has spread across the region and is played by a large number of ethnic groups who have added their own rhythms to the original Djembe repertoire.

Join one of Ray’s Djembe classes in Melbourne to experience the fascinating world of African rhythm and enjoy the experience of making music as part of a group.

Ray Teaching Intermediate Class