To an onlooker a drum could be another musical instrument that compliments others in the band or dancing troupe, but taking a closer look at an African drum we find it is much more than its face value. In a layman’s language an African drum is an instrument to beat to offer pleasure and appease other members listening. In the first place even in the dancing troupe there are several sets of drums each with unique sounds and playing different roles. African societies like societies anywhere are constantly evolving and developing. There are innovations in every society with new things coming into use as old items’ values are depreciating and they are becoming obsolete. Let’s take a look into some values an African drum played in the community setting and in one way share African experiences.
In African centralized kingdoms and chiefdoms the Royal drum is a symbol of authority and royalty. It plays an important role in consecration of African Kings and the sounding beat of royal drums is very rare, reserved for special occasions (birth, marriage, cerebrate an achievement, passing on or announcing successor in royal family) and its beat, speed and rhythm caused anxiety and disseminated very important message to the society. installing cultural leaders and family heirs. A Royal drum is an instrument of power that is transferable, kept sacred and jealously guarded and for confiscation of royal drum is in summary loss of authority and fierce confrontations.
On Uganda safari you will discover how an African drum was a “mobile telephone” through which messages were sent to a wider audience in the faraway places. The lifestyles in ancient Africa were hard in circumstances where there were no watches and wall clocks for making appointments or summoning an entire community to an impromptu gathering with no visible road system or even motor cars to speak of was rather a cumbersome assignment. At the sounding of African drums, every society member paused whatever activity they were doing to interpret the message, locate the possible direction and estimate exact distance to the venue. Word very soon spread from one person to another and soon there would be an assembly.
The African drum is an important entertainment tool that fits in every society occasions. The drum beat and the tune of drum and set the pace, rhythm, pitch of music and the accompanying dancing moves and strokes. On your tour to Uganda you will no doubt see African drum for it is a vital musical instrument for ceremonies cerebrating birth, memorials, marriage, bumper harvest, an achievement, morale boosting at work and consolation in times of sorrows; agony, epidemic, death or war. The drum beat magically sends a hidden message to the dancers with pulsating impulses that contagiously infect the audience and everyone gets lost in frenzy. The effects of what happens may not easily be explained here. African dance is not complicated to master and has no particular dancing formula. Just get on the dance floor and follow the boom boom rhythm of African drum in one way you master the moves, enjoy yourself and excite the audience.
Satisfied with beauty and touched by the importance of African drum, many people on Uganda tour purchase replicas of African drum as décor materials in their homesteads, offices and executive places. Their various shapes and designs, beautiful local materials used in making them and the touching history surrounding them, most people in many ways get African drums as souvenir items in commemoration of important landmarks in their lives and bragging rights of their tour and presence on African lands.