Djembe literally means “gathering together”, the saying goes that wherever and whenever people gather around drumming circles the world becomes a better place. Djembes are most commonly associated with the Madinka people of West Africa. Djembes specifically originate of Mali as far back as the 12th century.
They are traditionnaly carved from a single piece of wood.The djembe is said to consist of three spirits: the spirit of the tree from which it was made, the spirit of the animal whose skin covers the head, and the spirit of the drum maker. Djembes are hence strongly linked to the belief in the nature spirits in african society.
Based on Madinka legend, the djembe is said to have come about through a genie who gifted the tree to a Madinka blacksmith and taught him how to carve it into a djembe.
Due to their loud, resonating sound, the djembe has traditionally been used to communicate between tribes over long distances. Each rhythm would inform of a wedding, a death, a hunt, a birth etc.
Djembe are often accompanied by Dunun and bells, and are more and more used in world music. In Dublin and all over the country drumming circle are flourishing and djembe lovers get together to learn and practice ever more intricate rhythms.