If you’ve never played the dunduns, you don’t know what you’re missing!
A lot of people are familiar with the djembe, the West African drum that has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past 20 years, but many are not familiar with its partner in music, the dundun. Dundun are the drums that provide the foundation for the West African drumming ensemble. If the djembe is like the rhythm guitar, the dundun are the bass and drums. The dundun provide the basic architecture for the rhythms and music. They are the identity and heartbeat of the music.
Dundun come in a variety of sizes, from 10 to 20 inches wide and from 20 to 40 inches tall. They all have two heads, tuned with a similar system as the djembe. They are played with large sticks and placed either on their side or vertically (played from above).
When played horizontally (either on a stand or strapped to the player) they often feature a bell (kenken) that is played with a metal rod or bolt. The kenken’s piercing high-pitched tone cuts through the music while the low tone of the drum resonates in our bodies.