All The Best Djembe DVDs – A Review of Some Great Instructional Videos

DVDs are a fantastic and cheap way to improve your drumming. For less the price of a single one-on-one lesson you can pick up on of these and have it forever.

I've listed a few of my favorites below. Please feel free to comment with your recommendations.

Brad Dutz - Ultimate Beginner Series - Have Fun Playing Djembe (DVD)

Designed for the beginning hand drummer this tutorial begins by covering how to develop a sense of beat, how to produce tones and how to play a rhythm.

The second half of the tutorial covers techniques to produce a range of tones and sounds.

Gentle Djembe for Beginners (DVD)

This is a great DVD for beginners - particularly those who find playing the djembe a bit hard on your hands or suffer with arthritis. 

Alan Dworsky, who also wrote the How To Play Djembe book, is a great teacher and takes a very slow and simple approach in a group lesson.

This would be a good choice for older beginners. The lessons are very basic. Great if you need someone to take it very slow and easy. If you're looking for more challenging material, this might not be for you.

However, once you work your way through this, there are 2 more in the series. Nice!

Akaran Iko Iko (DVD)

This is a DVD by Mahiri-Fadjimba Keita and Michael Taylor of Tam Tam Mandingue (Mamady Keita's US djembe company) - so you know it is going to be of a high standard.

The subtitle is 'Learn again, again', but this is not a DVD for beginners. You will need a good understanding of the drum before you attempt the rhythms on this.

The rhythms are broken down, and you can play along to the djembe part, or have the dunun part as a backing, or you can play along to the whole ensemble.

There are several great rhythms with clear instruction. It also has some solos, but there is no instruction on the solos.

Overall a fantastic DVD, but will require some dedication to get everything out of it (perhaps that's the point!)

World Music Discoveries: Drums and Djembes of Burkina Faso (DVD)

This is a documentary, not an instructional DVD.

In the African nation of Burkina Faso, drums such as the djembe are more than a simple instrument; they have long been used for communication and story telling as well as musical accompaniment, as this fascinating documentary illustrates.

Explore the role the drum has played in Burkina Faso's history, and how the current generations' quest to move away from tradition threatens this time-honored instrument of oral history.

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