“If you say hi to one it may even talk right back!”
When you first hear the sound of a talking drum, it may catch you by surprise, and that is because the sounds of the drum can be manipulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. They are so entertaining to listen to because they are unlike any other drum you might hear.
The talking drum is amongst the oldest instruments used by West African Griots, with their history tracing back to the Ghana Empire. There are many variants including size, origin and style. The ‘Tama’ Talking Drum of the Wolof people is handmade in Senegal and is recognisable by its smaller size and higher pitched tone. These smaller style drums are also played by the Malinke people. A larger style Talking Drum (shown in the video below) is commonly played by the Yoruba and Dagomba people, in their Lunna and Dùndún ensembles.