Encoding language and transmitting messages – all this is possible with the talking drum. This instrument is in wide use in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and other parts of West Africa. There, this hourglass-shaped drum is known as ‘Tama’ or ‘Dondo’.
When playing the talking drum one can not only modify the beating technique, but also adjust the pitch level of the drumhead by pressing the cords. In Africa talking drums are played by griots (i.a.) – singers and keepers of oral history. Outside of West Africa this instrument became known through Youssou N’Dour among others, who has tama player Assane Thiam as a member in his band.