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Ngoma means DrumBuy a drum

The Ngoma is the traditional musical rhythm of East Africa. It has a long and fascinating history and over centuries was the source of communication between a king and his people.

The BUDAP drum is a handcrafted instrument. It is made from a hollow wooden frame with cow skin placed on the top and bottom of the drum and tightened to ensure the best quality sound.

To see how the drums are made you can take a virtual tour of our workshop.

The Story of the Ngoma

Before Tanzanian independance, the Buhaya region consisted of 8 kingdoms: Kiamtwara, Bugabo, Kiziba, Missenyi, Karagwe, Ihangiro, Kianja and Bukara. Each king would receive a spear and a ngoma given to him by his people which symbolized the power of the king. The king would use this ngoma to talk with his people. The different sounds of the ngoma communicated different meanings: war, diseases, bad weather, attacks from surrounding kings, preparing the farms for a new season, hunting or when somebody died. To ensure the safety of his people in the rural area of the kingdom, the king would send his son with a little ngoma to send a message to his people. This ngoma represented the kings power child with drumsand would be protected in a secret place by a special guard. During the rein of the king, if the drum was stolen by another kingdom, the king would loss his power and be forced to join another kingdom.

Ngoma Today

The ngoma is used for celebrations, dance and official cermonies. During a wedding, for example, the ngoma marks the start of the celebration. The brother of the bride strikes the ngoma at the bridegroomís home to mark his sisterís acceptance to get married. Returning to his home he also strikes the ngoma to mark the start of the celebrations.

How to play the ngoma

Different sizes of the Ngoma drum are used to produce different sounds or tones like the bass, the open sound which is a loud sharp sound and the slap sound which is a dead but sharp sound too. The ngoma is sounded by striking with sticks or hands. When you play the drum you need to relax your hands and fingers. Then hold your fingers close together and strike the top of the drum. You must not hit the drum too hard. Once you have hit the drum you must let your hands bounce off the top of the drum head and allow the drum to resonate.