Sunday 27 August 2023


The ancient Ashanti people of what is today republic of Ghana in west Africa and other kingdoms in Africa mainly use the talking drum. This was a form of non-verbal communication that was used to communicate through long distance in the forest kingdom of the Ashanti people. 

The drums expressed a tonal language that was understood by citizens of the kingdom. A drumbeat from the king's palace related messages that reverberated through out the kingdom. One drummer communicated a particular message, which was echoed by another drummer within a reasonable distance and another and another, drummed out the message until it went around, through out the kingdom.

This custom was also practiced among the Yoruba kingdoms to the east of Ashanti land. The drums were different in each of the tribal nationalities but the mode of drumming was almost similar. This differ from the 'town cryer" approach that was used by the wolof of present day Senegal, the Tiv and the Ibibio people of present day Nigeria.

In this case, the 'town cryer' in each community went around with a small cymbal or a small drum through which he or she calls the attention of the public by beating the instrument and sounding out the message of the king or elders of the kingdom to the public. There were some African kingdoms and chiefdoms that made use of other wind instruments in this manner.

When Africans were kidnapped from their lands and enslaved in the Americas, these traditions were continued at different levels, especially in Haiti. But as soon as the Europeans who had enslaved the Africans discovered that it was a mode of communication, through which the Africans relayed messages of their intended revolts, drumming was banned on all plantations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...