A Brief History on the Jembe and its Entry into the United States

The particulars surrounding the birth of the jembe are still contested by ethnomusicologists with an interest in the instrument and its cultural associations. Professor Eric Charry in his text, ‘Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa”, suggest that the history of the instrument may be traced by tracing the history of a specific class of artisans, the blacksmiths (Numus). The association between the jembe and the Numus is based on the fact that the blacksmiths (Numus) are the ones entrusted with working intimately with the elements and materials needed to make the jembe.

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Ngoni: Construction, Tuning, and Playing

Common regional/ethnic names: bappe, diassare, hoddu (Pulaar), koliko (Frafra), komsa, kontigi (Hausa), koni, konting (Mandinka), xalam (Wolof), molo (Songhay/Zarma), ndere, ngoni (Bambara), and tidinit (Hassaniyya Arabic).

Playing and Construction:

The ngoni is a simple lute constructed with a wooden body acting as a sound box. The body is oval-shaped and is covered with cattle hide.

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