Djembe Rhythms

Djembe rhythms

​Want to learn a few ​simple djembe rhythms? Here's a simple ​song to get you started. For a more difficult rhythm, try this.

Rhythm # 1 - 'Albongo'​

This song can be played by one djembe and consists of:

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

It is played in 4/4 time, which means there are 4 quarter notes per bar.


1. Introduction - The Call

The call (also called a break) is a short rhythmical phrase played by either the soloist or the entire group at the beginning of the song. It is a starting signal and is usually a quite expressive, introducing the song and setting the starting tempo.

The same call or a variation is often played as a break in the middle or at the end to 'call' everyone out. There are many variations of the call in djembe ​rhythms.

The call is shown in the chart below. Beginners may find it quite challenging. Persevere and you'll get it!

If you haven't already, you might want to check out how to read djembe notation.

Djembe rhythms 1


2. The Rhythm​

The main rhythm in this song is fairly simple.

​The first bar​ starts with a bass note on the ​first beat. This is followed by a series of four tones.

Theses are played on count 2​, count 2+, count 3+ and count 4.

The ​second bar​ similarly starts with a bass note on the ​first beat. This is followed by a series of f​ive tones in a row.

Theses are played on count 2​, count 2+, count 3, count 3+ and count 4.

Djembe Rhythms 2


3. The Ending Call

The call at the end has one extra note, right at the end, which is actually on the 1 count of the next bar. It is a slap and finishes off the song.

Djembe rhythms 3


All Together Now

Now play the whole song, starting with the call, then the rhythm (which you can play any number of times) and finally the Ending Call to finish the song.

Your first ​​song! Congratulations!

For more djembe rhythms see NEXT: Rhythm 2. Kuku - Intermediate

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