Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Challenge: Communication - Djembe Drum

This is a Djembe drum from Ghana, West Africa.  I have several such drums and this one I play every Sunday Morning with the music ministry at my church.  The interesting thing about a djembe is that the tone varies depending on where you strike it.  A sharp slap near the edge gives a high pitched sound while a open palmed stroke at the center gives a much lower sound.  Using the flat of the hand or individual fingers one can produce a surprising variety of sounds.  This is one means of communicating with a drum.

You will notice that the head of this drum has been covered with calligraphy done on the goat skin head with Sharpie pens.  Beginning at the top center and spiraling around the head in a clockwise direction are a number of prayers, scriptures, and blessings whose common element is that they have some personal meaning to me.

The graphic in the center is made of a single red line which loops around and reconnects with itself. The single unending line would remind us of the never ending love of God, or of infinity.   The basic pattern contains four lobes which reminds us of the cross of Christ.  On each arm are 3 loops which remind us of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In a sense when I play the drum, as the sound rises up from the drum head, the prayers rise up with the sound.  So the drum communicates is several ways.  At least that works for me.  If you want to read the writing, start at the top center, and follow around until you arrive at the center.  Please be careful that you do not strain your neck, or drop the monitor while rotating it. ( :-)}  Have a good week.

See more Thursday Challenge


Louis la Vache said... [Reply to comment]

Very interesting, Bill!

In a similar vein, you might enjoy THIS.

Yogi♪♪♪ said... [Reply to comment]

Very very cool post Bill. I think you have shown the drum before but I had noticed the writing and image on top. You are communicating on several levels.

Kati said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful! Love your avatar too! :) After one week suddenly you're Santa! :D