Djembe and Mande Music/Resource Section 
(last revision 01/26/2004)
Your feedback is always appreciated!

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 article

"A 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 Eric Charry)

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 refer to:

Instructional Books, Tapes, CDs, and Videos on Mande Style Drumming
Mande Style Djembe/Dunun Performance CDs
Mande Style Djembe/Dunun Performance Tapes
Mande Style Djembe/Dunun Performance Videocassettes

PLEASE SUPPORT THE ARTISTS!

Inclusion of notation resources in this Cross Reference, as well as in the

Books and Magazines on Various Drum Topics
section, should not be interpreted as agreement that a given transcription is accurate, or reflects a rhythm's traditional arrangement.

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 further.

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 territory.

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 Wall at

(808)737-3786.

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 rhythm.

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.

Michael Wall
(808)737-3786

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Dansa
Dennadon
Djole
Djondon/Wolosodon
Dundunba
Kakilambe
Kassa
Kuku
Lamban
Makuru
Mendiani
Sofa
Soko
Soli
Sorsonet
Sunu
Tiriba
Yankadi

[ToC] [ToP]