General info about traditional music and dance

sabar drums

sabar drums


The sabar is traditional drum from the West African nation of Senegal. It is generally played with one hand and one stick. Among its most renowned exponents is the Senegalese musician Doudou N’Diaye Rose (b. 1928). The sabar was used to communicate to other villages. The different rhythms correspond to phrases and could be heard for over 15 kilometers.

Sabar is also recognized as the style of music played while using this drum.

Sabar dance

Sabar is a traditional West African dance from Senegal, West Africa, that is performed to the beats of the Sabar drum. Sabar dancing incorporates feelings of feminine sensuality and flirtatiousness. It is a dance of expression that uses every part of the body, from the arms and legs to the eyes. Sabar consists of combinations that are less weighted to the ground than other styles, and incorporates lots of hip twisting, jumping, arm swinging and high knee lifting.

Sabar-style dancing is often performed at celebrations, such as weddings and baby-naming ceremonies. Always accompanied by the beat of Sabar drums, Sabar dancing is highly energetic, making it a great from of exercise.


Djembe is a skin-covered hand drum shaped like a large goblet and meant to be played with bare hands. According to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes directly from the saying “Anke dje, anke be” which literally translates to “everyone gather together” and defines the drum’s purpose. In the Bambara language, “Dje” is the verb for “gather” and “be” translates as “everyone”.

Other researchers conclude the name originates from the ‘Djem’ tree (Sycamore fig) which was commonly used for the body shell of the instrument. It is a member of the membranophone family of musical instruments: a frame or shell (in the djembe’s case it is a wood shell) covered by a membrane or drumhead made of rawhide or some other material. Djembes are commonly about 30 cm in diameter and 60 cm in height, varying a few inches. They can also be found in many smaller sizes, from 13 cm to 46 cm in diameter. As a result of the goblet shape, the density of the wood, the internal carvings, and the skin, there is a wide range of tones that can be produced by the djembe. The rounded shape with the extended tube of the djembe body forms a device known in physics as a Helmholtz resonator, giving it its deep bass note. The primary notes are generally referred to as “bass”, “tone”, and “slap”, though a variety of other tones can also be produced by advanced players. The slap has a high and sharp sound, the tone is more round and full, and the bass is low and deep.

doundoun drums

doundoun drums


A Dunun (also known as dundun, doundoun, or djun-djun) is the generic name for a family of West African bass drums that developed alongside the djembe in the Mande drum ensemble. It is not to be confused with the dundun, theYoruba name of the West African talking drum.