Djembe Drumming in Ghana

Djembe Drumming in Ghana, August 2012

In August 2012, I took a trip to Ghana for fun.  Why?  Four reasons. 

1) I had never been to West Africa

2) I had heard good things about Ghana as a place to visit, and there was a chance I could cross the border into Togo or Ivory Coast, depending on the stability of the neighboring countries at the time, and the associated cost and hassle of securing a visa while in Ghana.

3) I have a Djembe drum that was made in Ghana and I thought it would be great to experience djembe drumming from the source.

4) A friend of mind (Paul) just finished a Peace Corps stint in Liberia and was ready for a break in Ghana before returning to the US.

I am glad that I went.  The people were friendly, I felt safe walking the streets of Accra, I was able to cross the border (overland) into Togo without too much trouble, and I came home with a new Djembe drum that was custom carved for my son!

Here is a video of Paul and I test driving some djembe drums…

And then the pros show us how it is really done…

Paul (a banjo player) was eyeing an “African banjo”…you don’t see those everyday.  Moses was happy to give us a demo – here is a video.

Here is the market in Accra where djembe drums are made.

The workshop for custom carving of the drums – Paul ended up buying a drum too.

When the drums were ready to be picked up, the carvers and shop owner gave us an impromptu performance using our new drums … probably to give us a lasting impression of what it is supposed to sound like if we ever get good at playing djembe!  Click on the video below.

And the final product…one for my son Erik and one for Paul.

Author: Mark Aspelin

Mark Aspelin is a freelance nature, health, and travel writer who helps people become more engaged in biodiversity conservation and live a lifestyle that optimizes physical and mental health. Mark has worked as a conservation biologist, healthcare project manager, certified personal trainer, and he’s the author of over 50 blog posts and articles and two highly rated books: “Profitable Conservation: Business Strategies That Boost Your Bottom Line, Protect Wildlife, and Conserve Biodiversity" and "How to Fail at Life: Lessons for the Next Generation". He has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame, M.S. in Biology from Creighton University, and MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Mark has worked with a wide variety of organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, The Coca-Cola Company, Intel Corporation, Molina Healthcare, United HealthGroup, and The International Crane Foundation, and he is a volunteer Ambassador and Docent-in-training at the ABQ BioPark. His articles and interviews have been featured by GreenBiz, Inside EPA, Perceptive Travel, and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation’s Half-Earth Project. Mark is also an avid traveler who has visited over 100 countries and all 50 U.S. States and he lives in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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