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 9043118516
Another good djembe book, of which I have a copy. 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.
This is a more 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.
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.
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.