As a traditional West African instrument, djembes have been around for centuries. The drum is traditionally carved out of one piece of wood with a goatskin drumhead. Djembes did not gain popularity outside of their countries of origin until the 1950s, when an African ballet troupe toured Europe for the first time. Fortunately, now djembes are more popular and widely available throughout the world.


Since they are played by hand, there are not many djembe instrument parts and accessories required. One important one, though, is a drum bag for protection and transport. Keep in mind that djembes are shaped differently to other drums and need a special case. Another accessory to consider is straps so that the drum can be played whilst standing up. Straps go over both shoulders and attach to the djembe so that the instrument can be supported.

Sheet Music

Djembes have three different sounds: bass, tone, and slap. When combined, these sounds encompass all of the music created from the drums. Djembe sheet music and song books can be obtained, but watching DVDs will give you the full experience of learning djembe. Particularly when starting out, consider a source that will give you access to videos as well as sheet music.

World Drums

Djembes are just one type of world drum, but they are unique in shape and known to be unusually loud for their size. Drums from other parts of the world include cajons from Peru, dholaks from India, and bongos from Cuba.

Djembe Care

Since djembes are made from wood and animal skins, it's important to understand how to care for them. Playing the drum with your hands rather than a mallet or drumstick is a given, as that is how the musician creates different sounds. Oiling the animal skin is a good way to keep it protected from drying out. It's not necessary to clean it. Wood oil for the body is the only thing necessary for maintenance. Protecting the djembe by buying a well-insulated bag is the final step for care.