Drums and Drumming in Uganda

In Uganda, there are a lot of roadside merchants.  They hawk all kinds of locally-grown food and handmade wares.  Of the non-food items, there is a rich variety of items including:  loofas, three-legged stools, furniture, and drums.

Ugandans love to sing, dance, and perform, particularly the children.  Critical to these dance recitals is background music, which is usually provided by a variety of locally-made drums.

Children Getting Ready to Perform at a Primary School on Bussi Island

Children Getting Ready to Perform at a Primary School on Bussi Island

On my recent trip to Africa (Jan 2014), we decided to purchase drums for general distribution at the schools that we visit.  We stopped by a small shop on a major highway south of Kampala.

Drum Store with Hides Outside Being Dried

Drum Store with Hides Outside Being Dried

Many of the drums are made on site.

Preparing the Drum Heads.

Preparing the Drum Heads.

Carving the Body of the Drums

Roadside Carving Workplace

Carving the Bodies of the Drums

Carving the Bodies of Drums

The nice thing about buying drums in Africa is:  (1) you buy straight from the maker; (2) all the money stays in country; and (3) the school kids love them (and so do the adults).

Note:  If anyone would like to contribute to my African drum project, you can do so by sending a check to SeeeMe.  Your contribution is tax deductible.  Please note on your check that it is for drums.  If anyone would like a Ugandan drum, please contact me and I will see what I can do.

Credit:  The above photographs were taken by Stacey Smith and Michael Flynn, fellow travelers.

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This entry was posted in Social Justice, Travel, uganda. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Drums and Drumming in Uganda

  1. toemailer says:

    We would love to post the top picture and an excerpt of your text at toemail if you do not mind? http://toemail.wordpress.com

  2. toemailer says:

    It’s posted now. Thanks so much, we really appreciate it! 🙂

  3. Ian says:

    What are the prices like?

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Hi Ian, A medium-sized drum, one that you can easily carry in luggages costs about $35 in Uganda. Anything larger than that is hard to carry in luggage. There are two general types, the taller ones with more detailed string-work attaching the drum head, and flatter ones that you can play on both sides. I have friends in Uganda now June/early July 2014, if you would like one. I will be returning to Uganda in January 2015. An additional contribution to SeeeMe would also be nice. Roger

  4. Pingback: Drums in African LDS Church Services | Tired Road Warrior

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