Waisted Talking drum - Kenya


Purchased in Kenya, 1961

From Graciela's Notes

An especially interesting drum is the talking drum. It is a native instrument of Nigeria where it is known as a kalenga. It is in the form of an hourglass with long strips of leather or gut stretching down the sides from the head so that when the waisted drum is squeezed under the arm the drummer can raise or lower each note – it changes pitch. It is played with a bent stick. The drum makes the sound of a tonal African language. The drum has a variety of expressive tones – close to an octave. To play it just hold it under your arm and squeeze it lightly and strike it with the bent stick. The Yoruba tribesman of Nigeria make this drum of sheepskin, leather and wood. This one is not as fancy as the Nigerian drum but does the same thing. It is a 17" drum – the smaller one (13") is called "apala" by the Yoruba tribesman. However, I acquired the talking drum in Kenya during my trip to that country in December 1961. I was there on an African Safari.

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