'Talking' drum from the Asante of Ghana
This drum is from the Asante people of Ghana and is 535 mm long. It is a musical instrument made of wood and hide. It was played with a drum stick on one end. Squeezing the strings under the arm tightened and loosened the skin, and changed the sound of the drum – hence 'talking''. Drums were used in Africa as part of rituals, important ceremonies, music, storytelling and general festivities. They were also used to send messages and feared by Europeans on the plantations, since their beating might signal the start of a rebellion (as in Haiti).
Until recently, many commentators on Africa claimed that African societies had no tradition of writing. Read more...