Djembe and Mande Music/Resource Section
feedback is always appreciated!
(last revision 01/26/2004)
THE MANDE RHYTHM CROSS REFERENCE
Aloha, and welcome to the Mande Rhythm Cross Reference.
[LIST OF RHYTHMS]
These pages have been compiled by Michael Wall to serve as a
reference guide to audio and video performance and instructional
recordings, and as a resource for the background study of West African
djembe and dunun rhythms.
The Mande region of West Africa is the home of Djembe and Dunun
drumming. The rhythms referred to in this guide primarily originate in
Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast. Neighboring
regions including Senegal, Sierra Leon, and The Gambia have adapted the
Djembe and Dunun into their drumming cultures as well. In addition to
the map below, a second map of the region is included in the excellent
GUIDE TO THE JEMBE"
by ethnomusicologist Eric Charry. A must read for anyone interested in
the djembe and Mande drumming!
Map of core jembe area and border countries in West Africa (map by
Eric Charry). Place names are indicated by italics (countries are in all
capital letters); Related Mande groups are indicated by unitalicized
capital letters; Non-Mande peoples are indicated by unitalicized lower
case letters after an initial capital. (Reprinted with permission from
The Cross Reference pages do not include a notated example of each
rhythm as we believe that recorded examples are much more useful
representations of the music. (Better yet - find a good teacher!).
For ordering information on any of the recordings mentioned, please
Books, Tapes, CDs, and Videos on Mande Style Drumming
Style Djembe/Dunun Performance CDs
Style Djembe/Dunun Performance Tapes
Style Djembe/Dunun Performance Videocassettes
PLEASE SUPPORT THE ARTISTS!
Inclusion of notation resources in this Cross Reference, as well as
Books and Magazines on Various Drum
section, should not be interpreted as agreement that a given
transcription is accurate, or reflects a rhythm's traditional
In addition to the numerous cultural and stylistic variations which
occur within the Mande region of Africa, teachers and performers may
introduce new innovations or alterations to a rhythmic composition.
Human error and interpretation by the student can compound matters even
One of the hopes of this project is that a comparison of a broad
number of recordings may help reveal or confirm the elements which are
central to a given traditional rhythm. A good recording captures the
auditory experience of an actual performance, with a video adding the
bonus of a visual reference. Notation is simply a map. The map is NOT
The information contained here is far from exhaustive, and is in fact
occasionally contradictory. If you have further information to
contribute on any of the rhythms included here please contact Michael
Contributions of background information on the rhythms and related
dances from sources including magazines, academic journals, spoken
narratives on instructional materials, or your own direct research are
especially welcome. We are also looking for examples or transcriptions
of the traditional songs which accompany the rhythms, as well as
recordings labeled by names other than those traditionally used for the
If you have old vinyl recordings which are not included in this
listing, we'd REALLY love to hear from you!
If you are maintaining a Website and would like to include this
information, we STRONGLY request that you link directly to these pages,
as they are being updated on a near constant basis as more information
is gained. This will insure that you have the most up to date versions
of the Cross Reference. Please link directly to THIS page so that new
readers can also review this preface.
All information included in the Cross Reference should be considered
copywrited by the original authors. This resource is intended solely as
an research aid for serious drum students.
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