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The djembe

How To Play Djembe

Djembe Rhythms

'Kuku' and the flam

This song is played by two djembes and consists of:

  1. An introduction ('the call'),
  2. The basic rhythm
  3. An ending (or 'call out').

1. The Call

The call we learnt in the 'Albongo' lesson is taken a step further to include the flam. If you're not sure what a flam is, have a look here. Here the flam is the very first note of the song.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
gro do go do go do go do go

2a. The Rhythm - Jembe 1

The pattern is only one bar long and repeats itself.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
GU go do pa GU go do pa

2b. The Rhythm - Djembe 2

The second djembe plays the following. The pattern is 2 bars long.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
GU DU go do go do

3. The Ending Call

Notice the flam on count 1 and the extra note at the end that finishes off the song.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1
dro do go do go do go do go pa

That's it!

Now play the whole song, starting with both djembes playing the call, then one djembe plays rhythm 2a and one plays 2b (which you can play any number of times) and finally the Ending Call played by both djembes to finish the song.

That's Kuku!


Next article: The Rumble or Roll