Djembe Rhythm – Kuku

Djembe rhythms - Kuku

​Kuku and the flam

Kuku is one of the most popular rhythms that can be played on a djembe. It is a traditional dance ​song from Guinea in West Africa.

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.

Djembe Rhythm Kuku 1


2a. The Rhythm - Djembe 1

The pattern is only one bar long and repeats itself.

Djembe rhythm Kuku 2


2b. The Rhythm - Djembe 2

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

Djembe Rhythm Kuku 3


3. The Ending Call

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

Djembe Rhythm Kuku 4


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!


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