Best Djembe Book – Review of 4 Books About The Djembe

Best djembe books

Looking for a good djembe book? Here is a selection of the best ones out there. They are books I've personally read, tried and would recommend. Some will suit different levels of player, so there should be something for everyone.

How to play Djembe

Alan Dworsky, Betsy Sansby, Joh Camara

I have a copy of this. It's a good book for beginners, containing the basics along with a few exercises and a good collection of West African rhythms on CD. You don't need any prior musical knowledge, but it would help.

Definitely not the be all and end of of djembe books as it could have said a lot more, but a good start and very well priced, so worth having.

Djembe: Method for Beginner Djembe Players

Kaan Taprak & Jan Wietse Fokkema

Another good djembe book, of which I have a copy. Unfortunately it's not always easy to find in English.

It teaches the basics, with information on djembe cultural background, exercises, tips and song arrangements. At 32 pages it's a little on the thin side, and English may not be their strong point, but it's well researched and comes with a CD too.

African Percussion

Serge Blanc

This is an advanced book, but it's well worth getting if you're a little more au fait with music theory. The rhythms are written in standard music notation, which takes some working out, but it has a CD too which makes it much easier.

Blanc has done extensive research on the rhythms in the book and has been a student of Adama Drame, one of the djembe world's great. I wrote to him after buying the book to say hi. Nice guy too.

It can be VERY expensive, but is one of the most complete advanced books I have seen.

The Drummer's Path: Ritual and Tradition (Paperback)

Sule Greg Wilson

This book doesn't teach any specific rhythms but is a great book discussing the basic principles behind playing African drums and the spiritual and health-related aspects of playing drums, discussing breath, posture and more.

Sule Greg was also nice enough to leave a comment below mentioning his other book.

Manufacturers description is below:
An introduction to African drumming discusses the principles and power of traditional African rhythms and explains the basics of breath, posture, and orchestration in playing African music.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and buy, we get a commission. It doesn’t cost you anything. See the full disclaimer here.


    • Al Paton
  1. Lee
  2. Michael Moses
    • Al Paton

Add Comment