When we introduce people to African Drumming, we usually begin with an explanation of the difference between a Bongo and a Djembe Drum. Why is the term "Bongo" synonymous for all "Hand Drums"? Were the Beatniks of the 50's that influential?
Bongo Drums and Djembes are both hand drums but from different parts of the world. Bongos are from Cuba and Djembes are from West Africa. Bongos are two small drums attached together and held between your knees when played. Djembes are a single drum shaped like a goblet. Djembes are usually played by resting the drum on the floor while sitting or held up with a strap while standing.
According to Wikipedia "Bongo drums or bongos are a Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of single-headed, open-ended drums attached to each other. The drums are of different size: the larger drum is called in Spanish the hembra (female) and the smaller the macho (male). It is most often played by hand and is especially associated in Cuban music with a steady patter or ostinato of eighth-notes known as the martillo or "hammer"."
Also, according to Wikipedia "A djembe (pronounced /ˈdembei/ 'JEM-bay') also known as jembe, jenbe, djimbe, jymbe, yembe, or jimbay, or sanbanyi in Susu; is a skin-covered hand drum shaped like a large goblet and meant to be played with bare hands. According to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes directly from the saying "Anke dje, anke be" which literally translates to "everyone gather together" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "Dje" is the verb for "gather" and "be" translates as "everyone"
So, the next time you're at a cocktail party and a conversation regarding hand drums comes up, you are now well prepared. Thank you for visiting World Wide Drums, a great source of information on Hand Drumming and especially Djembe Drumming.