Learn Drum, Dance and Song in Ghana, West Africa - Kusun Study Tour
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Djembe (jem-bay)
The djembe is undoubtedly one of the most powerful drums in existence. It dates back to the 12th century and the great Mali Empire of West Africa. It has an incredible tonal range, from thunderclap to whisper soft, setting it apart from other drums

Kpanlogo (ceremonial drum)
Ghana's best-known drum has been used since 1962 in festivals, funerals and naming ceremonies. Today it is a popular instrument used in many styles of music, and can be found around the world in African dance bands. It is a traditional peg drum from the Ga tribe of Ghana. It is smaller than the conga but of similar shape and sound. Antelope skin is used for its head producing a soft and resonant tone. Played with the hands or sticks.


Aslatua (ah-sa-lah-twa)
These small gourds originally held snuff. By putting stones inside, tying two gourds together with string. One gourd is held in the hand and the other is swung from side to side around the hand. The aslatua has become a popular toy on the streets of Benin, Togo, Mali and Ghana. Nii Tettey Tetteh is one of a handful of musicians to play two sets of aslatua, turning this toy into a beautiful and complex instrument.


Atente-ben (bamboo flute)
Historically, the bamboo flute was used in dirges as part of funeral processions. Now, it is found in both contemporary and traditional styles of music. Nii Tettey Tetteh is a master flautist influenced by musicians like Miles Davis and Nana Danso Abiam, the Director of The Pan African Orchestra.


Gome (West African drum) (go-may)
The Gome drum was originally created of lumber and skin by Africans in Jamaica who went there as slaves. Freed slaves carried the Gome tradition to Sierra Leone when returning to the continent in the 1800s. carpenters from Sierra Leone shared the Gome tradition with carpenters from other West African countries including the Ga from Ghana. A Gome is a goatskin stretched over a wooden bos frame. The drummers sits atop the bos and plays this drum with both his hands and the heels of the feet, which press against the skin to change the pitch.

Dun Dun

Dun Dun
Double ended bass drums, with cow skins. Found all around West Africa. These drums are played with sticks.

Shekere (she-ke-ray)
Made from a hollowed dry gourd, with seeds hanging on a string net on the outside. The seeds are knocked against the gourd to get the sound.

An African Xylophone. The woodken keys are set on a frame which has gourds underneath them to give the sound a most unique resonance. There is a combination of small and large gourds to accomplish this amazing texture of sound. Played with mallets.

Gongo Bell (gon-oh)
Traditional two pronged bell held in one hand and played by striking it with a straight stick. Occasionally the mouth of a bell is pressed to one’s thigh to mute the sound.


You will be learning rhythms for both djembe and kpanlogo drums. The hire of these drums is included in the price of the tour. If you wish to purchase drums or any other instruments we can arrange this for you. Please Note: If you do purchase any instruments, students will be responsible for the freight/post, etc, of these instruments back to their own countries.



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